Archive for March 8th, 2010
Businesses exist (only) to grow profits. Everything else—including their customers—are in a distant second. Here’s the clearest example of how businesses are willing to kill customers so long as they can drain money from them. Anne Landman at PRWatch.org:
In the 1950s, more than half the U.S. population smoked. Now that number is down to just 21 percent of adults. As the domestic cigarette market shrinks, tobacco companies are taking their business to the developing world, where they don’t have to deal with pesky things like advocacy groups that oppose industry activity, smoking bans, and a populace that is aware of the health hazards of smoking.
Now Philip Morris (PM) is playing hardball in lesser-developed countries to try and preserve their ability to market cigarettes however they want. On February 19, PM filed a lawsuit against Uruguay to try and force that country to withdraw a new law requiring 80 percent of each side of cigarette packs show graphic images depicting the health effects of smoking.
Laws requiring large, pictorial graphic warning labels on cigarette packs are not new.Canada was the first to implement them, starting in 2000. Now 32 countries and the European Union require them. Uruguay, in fact, already had a law requiring half of each side of cigarette packs to contain health warnings. They just wanted to make the pictures a little bigger. That was all it took to get Philip Morris to slap them with a law suit.
So why is Philip Morris coming down like a ton of bricks on less developed countries like this? Because as cigarette makers lose their markets in the developed world, they need poorer and less-educated populations to keep expanding their business. That means moving into developing countries, and how they market cigarettes there is often egregiously repugnant.
Cigarette Marketing Strategies in Foreign Countries
Cigarette companies market their products quite differently in foreign countries than they do in the U.S. They’ve also learned lessons from their past experiences in the U.S. that they apply to help create business other countries.
For example, an undated British American Tobacco marketing plan discusses "Project Z," in which the company planned to sell single cigarettes in Central American countries, as a way to keep poverty-stricken smokers addicted to nicotine. The document says that selling cigarettes one by one will help keep poor smokers "within the habit."
Leveraging Fear as a Marketing Tool
Tobacco companies learned that "health scares" tend to generate new markets for brands they can make people believe are safer. They apply this knowledge to actually stimulate health fear among smokers to drive people to buy "low tar" brands. For example, in 1983, Brown & Williamson implemented Project Lodestar in Kuwait, to generate health fears among Kuwaiti smokers to increase sales of their "light" brands in Kuwait. In describing Project Lodestar, B&W lamented that "The lack of growth in [the low tar and nicotine] segment, especially in developing countries, has seriously affected the potential of key BWIT brands…" Project Lodestar’s objective was to "Stimulate concern among less aware consumers…" Another Lodestar tactic involved snookering Kuwaiti anti-tobacco groups into helping B&W "stimulate" this "concern":
"Lobby [the Kuwaiti Anti-Smoking] Society to emphasize low delivery brand alternatives for concerned smokers who do not want to quit smoking…"
Philip Morris held the people of Pakistan in similar regard…
Is the GOP getting stupider and more dishonest (bad combination: the lies are more obvious) day by day? It sure seems that way. Amanda Terkel at ThinkProgress:
The Oklahoma legislature is currently locked in a dispute over whether to tackle the state’s divorce rate, the third-highest in the nation. Although some Republicans are pushing the legislation, other conservatives are outraged at the “government intrusion” into their private lives:
Republican members proposed three pieces of legislation imposing new regulations on marriage and divorce in Oklahoma. Two of the measures were defeated, but another — requiring counseling for those planning to wed, and therapy sessions for couples considering divorce — is awaiting action.
The issue has produced sharp clashes among conservative colleagues who normally find themselves in agreement. The debates have featured charges of hypocrisy and of betraying Republican principles against government intrusion into private lives. [...]
“How far do I want government to come into my home and your home about private personal matters?” asked Rep. Leslie Osborn, a Republican from Tuttle, in a debate. She referred to state government as a “huge monster.”
ThinkProgress spoke with state Rep. Jeannie McDaniel (D), who opposes the divorce bills because one hour of counseling — as proposed by one of the measures — won’t make a major difference in people’s marriages:
We know that one hour of counseling doesn’t do anything. We have counseling programs, especially in Family and Children Services…for families that are going through divorce who have children…and those have proven to be very effective. And they’re paid for by our Department of Human Services; they have grants available. They’ve been in place for over 14 years. They have a very high success rate of good outcomes. …They [participants in the programs] sort of laughed at this and said, “One hour, you’ve got to be kidding?” And it can be by anybody — it can be by your priest, it can be by a faith-based counselor.
McDaniel noted that some of the strongest debates on the divorce measures are coming from within the Republican Party, many of whom are against the government intervention. However, some of their concern rings a bit hollow; some of these same lawmakers — including Osborn — have had no problem imposing “government intrusion” into women’s “private lives.” Last fall, the Oklahoma passed a law that would have collected personal details about every single abortion performed in the state and posted them on a public website. (The Oklahoma County District Court struck down the law last month because it covered too many topics for one piece of legislation.)
McDaniel noted that Republican lawmakers are now putting forth several anti-choice measures once again, as single bills. Just last week, for example, the state House passed a measure “that would require a woman be given a description of ultrasound images of her unborn child and be offered those images before getting an abortion.” Rep. Dan Sullivan (R), the sponsor of the abortion website legislation, opposed the divorce counseling bill in a Feb. 22 vote.
Oklahoma also bans same-sex couples from marrying — a clear “government intrusion” into private life that many Republican lawmakers seem to find perfectly acceptable.
Tony Perkins, president of the far-right Family Research Council, said that he endorses efforts to lower the divorce rate, as long as the government does not “mandate” them. “I prefer the carrot versus the stick,” said Perkins, who opposes marriage equality.
Apparently the standard practice these days is to open a link in the same tab—if the user wants it to open in a new tab, he can right-click the link and open it in a new tab. In other words, if you open the link in a new tab automatically, you deprive the user of the option of staying in the same tab, but if you open in the same tab, the user can choose whether or not the link actually opens in the same tab or in a new tab.
Until now, I have always made links open in a new tab. But now I think I probably shouldn’t. Just for fun, a poll:
I just started watching To Catch a King on Watch Instantly, and I think the credits are extremely well done. The movie itself is not highly rated, but the credits are excellent. (I’m watching the movie for Terri Garr.)