An advertising campaign for Marlboro-branded clothes has been condemned by anti-tobacco lobbyists for exploiting weaknesses in the voluntary agreement on tobacco advertising.
The Philip Morris-owned brand Marlboro, which is sold through Rothmans in the UK, has been advertising its Marlboro Classics fashion range on bus-sides and bus shelters through Leo Burnett.
Under the terms of the voluntary agreement, which is a set of ad regulations agreed by the Government and the tobacco industry, cigarette ads cannot run on any form of transport or on six-sheet poster panels, as used on bus shelters.
The current campaign shows a man shaving with a pair of jeans slung over his shoulder and the words “Marlboro Classics” underneath. It lists the specialist shops where the clothes can be bought.
A spokeswoman for anti-tobacco campaigners ASH says: “This is clearly brand-stretching. The whole point is to promote the Marlboro brand. It is an indirect form of cigarette advertising, but because the voluntary agreement is so weak it does not cover this sort of thing.
“It is inconsistent that tobacco ads must have a health warning even if they don’t mention the brand name, while these ads carry tobacco branding with no health warning.”
She says ASH will protest to the Advertising Standards Authority, which pre-vets cigarette ads, and will continue to lobby for brand-stretching campaigns to be banned along with all other tobacco ads.
Ian McComas, executive director of Adshel, says: “These ads are clearly for clothing. They are not heavily branded and do not use the Marlboro chevron logo. We have had no complaints.”