This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man
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Philip Morris International (PMI), which has earned a well-deserved reputation for saying one thing and doing another, is at it again. Close on the heels of PMI’s launch of a global marketing effort for its heated tobacco vaporizer called IQOS (or, I Quit Ordinary Smoking), the Big Tobacco brand was caught marketing its killer weed to unsuspecting young people. Happily, an alert Reuters reporter spotted the social media transgression and called out the nefarious nicotine maker for violating its own marketing policy. Allegedly intent on helping smokers ease their way off the killer weed through IQOS AND not marketing to younger, impressionable teens who see vaping as the cool, new thing, PMI featured 21-year-old Alina Tapilina, a Russian model/influencer, endorsing IQOS on Instagram. Caught red-handed (or black lunged, if you prefer) PMI chose to suspend the marketing campaign and yank the IG post VERY LATE on a Friday
(hoping against hope no one would notice). A PMI spokesperson Tweeted, “We were deeply disappointed to discover this breach and are grateful that it was brought to our attention.” Yeah, sure they were. Make no mistake that, despite hollow promises to provide “smoke-free alternatives”, PMI delivers shareholder value by continuing to addict people worldwide. To make matters even worse, PMI had the unmitigated gall to declare 2019 the “Year of Unsmoke” (while continuing to pay young, attractive social influencers to peddle their vape). PMI remains a slippery, sleazy brand intent on devising new and ever more insidious ways to addict a whole new generation of smokers with its youth-oriented influencer and social media campaigns. This most recent transgression belies PMI’s stated intent to remake a battered image and be seen as a highly moral company. In reality, it’s just the latest example of PMI saying one thing and doing another. Shame on them. Late-breaking news: North Carolina just became the first state in the nation to sue Juul. Fingers and tobacco leaves crossed that many others will follow suit.