Please Don't Buy Our Product


The new, improved Philip Morris is not only clamoring for government regulation (the better to fend off its competitors). The company is also running a TV ad bragging about all the measures it's taking to discourage consumption of its products.

"We voluntarily removed our ads from the back covers of magazines," the announcer says, and "significantly reduced our magazine advertising." Philip Morris also brags about its sponsorship of the "We Card" program aimed at preventing cigarette sales to minors and a Web site that offers pointers on "how parents can talk to their kids about not smoking." On the Web site, "you'll also find information on the serious health effects of smoking and links to sites that can help smokers quit."

Philip Morris ostensibly has adopted the message of anti-smoking public service messages: If you don't smoke, don't start; if you do smoke, quit. Is this what they call the soft sell?