OF INFORMAL SURVEY
RE: USE OF U.S./NYC IMAGERY IN
TOBACCO ADVERTISING ABROAD
by: Essential Action
and Reality Check
are unaware that "AMERICA" is one of the most popular and powerful
themes in tobacco advertising abroad. In January 2003, Essential Action
and Reality Check decided to investigate how widespread this promotional
ploy is, and why it works so well, by asking some questions of our colleagues
around the world.
advocates in 28 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern/Central
Europe responded to our informal poll. While our survey sample was small
and not necessarily representative of the populations in these countries,
the responses do suggest some universally-held perceptions of the U.S.
and tell the psychological story behind Big Tobacco's use and abuse of
the U.S., and NYC in particular, in its advertising around the world.
OF THE UNITED STATES
- 76% said
that people in their country have a positive view of the United States.
- What people
in other countries like about the U.S.: Freedom, Democracy, Good lifestyle,
wealth, opportunity, development, power, and glamour
- 70% of
respondents said that, when they think about the U.S., New York City
is the very first city that comes to their mind.
- Top 5
cities that respondents associate with the U.S.: New York (100%), Washington,
DC (73%), Los Angeles (60%), Chicago (50%), San Francisco (40%). Next
five include: Boston (33%), Miami ( 20%), Dallas (13%), Atlanta (10%),
Philadelphia/Las Vegas (7%)
OF NEW YORK CITY
- New York
City is most commonly associated with skyscrapers (e.g. the World Trade
Center and Empire State Building), "Manhattan", the Statue
of Liberty, "Business", fashion, diversity and art.
- New York
city is also associated with: modernity, affluence, prosperity, Broadway
and show business, Wall Street, "Big Apple", and "high
- The Statue
of Liberty, in particular, symbolizes - nearly universally - "freedom"
and "liberty" as well as "USA", "Welcome",
"democracy", and "justice." It is also associated
with "equal opportunity", "hope", "peace",
"pride" and "victory".
- 60% of
respondents said that they have seen tobacco advertisements and/or promotional
items, which use U.S. scenes, symbols or place names. Examples included:
Statue of Liberty (Argentina)
* City skyline and message "Have you ever been to New York?"
(Bosnia and Herzegovina)
* Big Apple (Ghana)
* World Trade Center (South Korea)
compilation of photos from around the world
- For many,
the Marlboro Man is synonymous with the U.S.
said that the tobacco industry uses U.S. themes in its advertising outside
the U.S., because the U.S. stands first and foremost for "wealth"
and "power" - as well as "prosperity", "a good
lifestyle", "freedom", and "success". People
around the world look up to the U.S.
OF U.S. SMOKING RATES
- 50% of
respondents said that people in their country believe that 50% or more
of Americans smoke. Nearly 20% said that people in their country believe
that 75% or more of Americans smoke. (Currently, only about 25% of Americans
said that people in their country get their impressions about the amount
of smoking in the U.S. primarily through movies, television, and tobacco
- 93% have
seen actors smoking in U.S. movies (60% "a lot")
- 47% of
respondents said that people in their country are not aware that many
places in the U.S. have prohibited smoking in public places.
A STRONG FCTC
- 100% of
respondents said that the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control should
include a comprehensive advertising ban. Several respondents noted that
there used to be tobacco ads that featured U.S. imagery in their countries,
but this ended
when tobacco advertising bans were implemented.
call on the U.S. to join the majority of the world's nations in supporting
a strong FCTC. They note that "money is not as important as people's
lives." View full list of specific
appeals from around the world to the U.S. delegation to the FCTC
The use of
U.S. imagery in tobacco ads abroad is widespread. These ads take advantage
of people's dreams of the USA, while perpetuating a myth that smoking
is "American" and that the majority of Americans smoke. The
best way for countries to deal with this insidious marketing ploy would
be to implement comprehensive advertising bans. The U.S. opposes including
this measure in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Tobacco control
advocates around the world call on the U.S. to stop fronting for the tobacco
industry, and start showing a serious commitment to global public health.
OF RESPONDENTS: Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Chile, Czech Republic, Ghana, India, Jordan, Kenya, Mongolia, Nigeria,
Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Romania, Russia, South Korea, South Korea,
Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugoslavia,
information, contact Essential