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Maybe not so clever - Marlboro pulls adverts

The Local · 27 Jul 2012, 10:51

Published: 27 Jul 2012 10:51 GMT+02:00

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The series of English-language slogans urging smokers “Don’t be a Maybe – be Marlboro” were described by the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper as one of the most catchy recent cigarette advert campaigns.

Slogans such as “Maybe never fell in love” and “Maybe never feels free”, may have left some German speakers puzzled, but as the newspaper points out, the idea of “Maybe” being or not being something is difficult to translate.

But the campaign, which matched the slogans with images of young people having fun or kissing in a disco, upset authorities in Munich who felt they were aimed at young people – which is specifically barred for tobacco firms.

Munich city authorities wrote to Philip Morris to set out the concerns, prompting the tobacco firm to cancel the campaign – though they denied any wrongdoing.

“We are convinced that the Marlboro poster campaign meets the relevant laws,” a spokeswoman said on Thursday.

“But we have decided to stop the Marlboro Maybe posters, while we examine the complaints and continue our discussions with the authorities.”

Johannes Spatz, spokesman of the Rauchfrei anti-smoking group, said he was pleased with the decision. “This is a breakthrough,” he said, suggesting it was the first time that authorities had moved against such a tobacco advertising campaign.

He said he hoped this could mark the start of a change in attitudes to tobacco advertising, which is still much more prevalent in Germany than many other European countries.

A report from the Germany Cancer Research Centre this May called for an immediate ban on all cigarette advertising.

“The practice of cigarette advertising in this country is irresponsible,” said Otmar Wiestler, head of the centre.

“Cigarettes are fundamentally different from any other legally sold product, because they are toxic and pose the largest avoidable cancer risk. The fact that they are extremely hazardous to health is enough reason for them to have a special status.

Story continues below…

“Therefore they should also be given special status by a comprehensive advertising ban, which does not exist for any other consumer product.”

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:59 July 27, 2012 by Localed
Maybe never got lung cancer!

This is what I wanted to write on every Marlboro billboard I saw in Berlin.

Thank you Munich for stopping my career as a vandal.

That campaign is pure evil, calculated, unadulterated, inexcusable malevolence.

At least James Holmes, the Aurora cinema killer, has an excuse, as he is probably mentally deranged, but those people from Phillip Morris knew exactly what they were doing, planned it meticulously and spent millions seeding this ridiculous idea into young minds.

Personally I thought the campaign was so transparently dumb that it was doomed to failure. But then I have been around a lot longer than the supposedly gullible young people targeted by these money grubbing tobacco promoters who don't care how many young people contract an illness that will drag them through the most excruciating agony before a very painful death.

Hopefully our youth are smarter than Phillip Morris gives them credit for.

Nevertheless, if I see any more billboards for Phillip Morris I will be reaching for the spray can.

Maybe never got lung cancer - it's too good a tag line to pass up.
00:13 May 31, 2013 by lorenz8122
Pity, I found the campaign very nice and insightful. I don't agree with people blaming the "evil" behind it. Is somebody out there which is seriously thinking that exist still somebody which doesn't know the health risks related to smoking? So, what's the matter in this advertising? Alcohol cause many deaths...but nobody complains about it, especially in Germany, while cigarettes, you can even learn how a skull shape is, just printed on the packaging! So everybody is 100% conscious of the risk. Even under 18 y.o....
20:18 October 15, 2013 by DumbAmerican
It's great that everyone is going to quit smoking now.
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