Posted by: audreybenenati | March 22, 2010

Roefaro blasts Lorillard, Altria, and Reynolds American for targeting kids, offers up Utica photos to prove his point

The Mayor also spent some time today writing three CEO’s, asking them to stop the ‘hypocritical pandering’ to parents, often expounded upon on their websites and in their media sound bytes. "If these companies aren’t focused on reining in youth smokers, replacement smokers, why can you walk into any Utica store that sells cigarettes and see an ad that is purposely placed to catch the eye of a child? It’s subliminal marketing. It’s insulting, and disgusting," the mayor said.

Roefaro sent three letters to the CEO’s below, asking them to change their integrated marketing communications platform, and the way in which it clandestinely targets youth.

Letters were mailed to:

Martin Orlowsky, CEO Lorillard Tobacco Co.

Michael Szymanczyk, CEO Altria Group

Susan Ivey, CEO Reynolds American Inc.

In his letters, the mayor points out that while these companies profess a commitment to quelling youth smoking with programs like Lorillard’s ‘Youth Smoking Prevention Program’ and Reynold’s ‘Right decisions, Right now’ campaign, they are being hypocritical with their marketing, ensuring ads are within a child’s sight, often showered with color.

"If these companies are going to publicly decry youth smoking, they should go all the way, anything less is just unacceptable, unethical, and that’s why I wrote these CEO’s, because their second hand smoke and mirrors is hurting and adversely affecting Utica’s youth," the mayor said.

According to Reynolds American’s corporate website, "…the company and its operating companies are guided by the belief that minors should never use tobacco products." When Roefaro read that, he had but two words- "Yea right."

Here’s the subliminal marketing Roefaro is talking about:

Photo depicting a tobacco advertisement in Utica. The ad invites youthful on-lookers to ‘join the brotherhood’. The advertisement is at the eye level of a child. If you look below the ad, you can see the ice cream cooler.

Another Utica, NY photo taken at a separate location, showcasing more ads at the eye level of a child, ads that touch the sidewalk.

And a third location, depicting another tobacco ad conveniently placed at the eye level of a child, placed near the bottom of the store’s door.

Read the rest at



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