The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

4313.0: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - 9:06 PM

Abstract #43177

Young adults' opinions of Philip Morris and its television advertising

Lisa Henriksen, PhD, Stephen P. Fortmann, MD, and Harry Haladjian. Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention, Stanford University School of Medicine, 1000 Welch Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304, 650-723-7053,

Background. In an unprecedented effort to rehabilitate its image, Philip Morris advertises itself as a proponent of youth smoking prevention and community service. These ads are significant because they portray the first positive images of the company on television in 30 years. The current study compares reactions to Philip Morris ads from youth who were either aware or unaware that the sponsor is a tobacco company. This is the first study we know of to examine viewers’ responses to televised advertisements of a tobacco company’s charitable works. Design. Data were gathered in the context of a controlled experiment in which participants saw four Philip Morris ads about youth smoking prevention, four Philip Morris ads about charitable works, or four Anheuser-Busch ads about preventing underage drinking (the control group). Knowledge and opinion of Philip Morris were measured before ad exposure. Subjects. Undergraduates (n=218) aged 18–25 years from a California State university participated in the study. Main outcome measure. Advertising effectiveness measured by 12 semantic differential scales. Results. Approximately half of the students knew that Philip Morris is a tobacco company. Neither this knowledge nor students’ smoking status was related to their opinion of the company. Philip Morris ads were rated less favorably by students who were aware that the sponsor is a tobacco company than by students who were unaware. Conclusions. Advertisements designed to discredit the tobacco industry typically avoid references to specific companies. This study suggests that such counter-advertising would benefit from teaching audiences about the industry’s corporate identities.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Tobacco Industry,

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

New Images and Activities of the Tobacco Industry

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA