Tobacco Targets College Students p.7

By: ALLAN WOLPER Ending self-imposed ban on ads in college newspapers,
U.S. Tobacco Co. ignites controversy with ad campaign in college press
THE U.S. TOBACCO Co. has ended the tobacco industry's self-imposed blackout of college newspapers with a national campaign for Copenhagen and Rooster smokeless tobacco.
The promotional effort has roiled student newsrooms, angered public officials, and ignited an e-mail war between pro- and anti-tobacco readers.
The Copenhagen ad is receiving the most attention because it offers students a free can of tobacco without having to prove they are over 18 years old.
Alan Kaiser, a spokesman for U.S. Tobacco, released this statement in a brief telephone interview:
"We market our products to adults."
Kaiser apparently was referring to a small disclaimer at the bottom of the advertisement telling readers they have to be "18 years of age or older to participate."
Campus media experts were stunned at the campaign's timing ? just as the tobacco industry is lobbying Congress to limit its legal liability and pledging to unleash a "massive and sustained assault against underage smoking."
"The campaign makes sense in the South," said Rob Donner, senior account executive for Marketplace Media, a firm that works with campus publications. "But I was surprised they were doing it in other places. Tobacco has such a stigma."
Anti-tobacco sentiment prompted some campus newspapers to reject the ads. Others accepted the ads and the money ? then criticized the tobacco industry after publishing them.
"I don't understand why a campus newspaper would reject any ad," said Lisa Bonk, of Cass Communications, the New York City advertising agency in charge of placement. "College editors should not have the freedom to preclude the campus from reading anything."
Bonk, citing client confidentiality, declined to identify which student newspapers published the ads and which ones returned them.
Other knowledgeable campus sources, however, disclose that U.S. Tobacco had spent at least $5 million on the college ads, which eventually ran in 200 college newspapers.
The $5 million figure would have been considerably higher if the money had been used to buy space in the commercial press.
E&P has confirmed that U.S. Tobacco ads were published in newspapers at Eastern Michigan University, University of Florida, Florida State, University of Kentucky, Michigan State University, University of Michigan, University of Mississippi, University of North Carolina, University of Washington, University of Texas-Austin, Southwest Texas State University and Texas Tech University.
Sources say that U.S. Tobacco actually started its marketing process in 1995, when it created a college newspaper focus group by placing ads in three Colorado papers and two small community college publications.
Unlike their commercial colleagues whose publishers decide on ad acceptability, college editors often participate in decisions involving advertising content. In recent years, student newspapers debated for months whether to run so-called issue ads denying the Holocaust or involving abortion.
The Tobacco Institute, the tobacco industry's Washington, D.C., based political arm, insisted it was unaware of U.S. Tobacco's massive college media campaign launched at the start of the 1997-1998 academic year.
"Cigarette manufacturers voluntarily withdrew their advertising from campus publications in 1963," said institute spokesman Walker Merryman. "I don't know anything about the U. S. Tobacco ads. You're the first call I've gotten on it."
Merryman said the Tobacco Institute would not comment on matters involving U.S. Tobacco, even though the company was one of its members.
"Smokeless tobacco companies, like cigar and pipe tobacco firms, have their own trade association," he explained.
Robert Maples, spokesman for the Smokeless Tobacco Council in Washington, D.C., did not return repeated calls seeking comment on the U.S. Tobacco campaign.

Campus newspapers ? often staffed by idealistic students ? have agonized over their role in the U.S. Tobacco campaign.
The State News, at Michigan State University, in East Lansing, said it "would no longer accept advertising that features offers for free tobacco products" after it was criticized by Michigan Attorney General Frank J. Kelley for an insert offering a free can of Copenhagen.
"You can argue the right of tobacco to be sold and the right of choice and pontificate all you want," Kelley said in a Feb. 9 letter to the editor. "But being part of the tobacco secret agenda to seduce young people to use tobacco is socially and ethically reprehensible."
Pro-tobacco students accused Kelley of hoisting himself aboard "the anti-tobacco bandwagon" while ignoring liquor ads in the newspaper.
Jonathan Brunt, the 21-year-old State News editor, said he would have rejected the Copenhagen insert if he had seen it before it was published.
"There are certainly people here under 18 who would have ordered the tobacco," Brunt said. "We won't run that insert again."
But Brunt will continue to run three-quarter-page, color run-of-press ads for Rooster Life snuff because of First Amendment considerations.
"It is a legal product," Brunt said. "You have to look hard at yourself on this issue. Whether we're talking about paid speech or nonpaid speech, it's still speech."
Berl Schwartz, the general manager of the State News, said U.S. Tobacco, during the past six months, purchased $17,050 worth of space, representing 22% of the newspaper's national ad revenue.

The Michigan Daily, at the University of Michigan, was the setting for a more contentious debate, as the business and editorial departments squared off in an ethical struggle over tobacco and its money.
"We have encouraged the university editorially to sell their tobacco stocks," explained Laurie Mayk, the 20-year-old editor in chief. "We felt it was hypocritical for us to accept any tobacco advertising."
The dispute was mediated by the paper's advisory board, which gave the editorial department control of ad content above the fold and allowed the business section to rule on material everywhere else.
The editorial department, however, responded by running as much anti-tobacco wire copy as it could find adjacent to tobacco ads.
"This is an important health issue," said Mayk. "The U.S. Tobacco ads indicate nothing is wrong with tobacco. That is false advertising. We felt we had to present the other side of the argument."
Mayk was referring to a dispute about whether U.S. Tobacco's smokeless products ? sniffed through the nose, chewed, or held between cheek and gums ? are as much of a health problem as cigarettes.
An ad for Rooster snuff, for example, provides an ambiguous health message at the bottom of its material: "Warning: This product is not a safe alternative to cigarettes."
But the Michigan Daily learned from an Associated Press dispatch that Curt Schilling, a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, had a white lesion removed from his mouth after using smokeless tobacco for 15 years.
"Basically, in no uncertain terms, the doctor told me that if I were to continue, I'd have cancer," Schilling said. "They were 100 percent sure of it."
After the dispute, U.S. Tobacco pulled its ads out of the Michigan Daily. The Centers For Disease Control says snuff users are 50 times more likely to develop cancer of the gum or inner cheek lining as nonusers.

Surprisingly, readers at the Daily Mississippian, at the University of Mississippi, were mostly outraged that the paper published the U.S. Tobacco ads.
"I decided, along with the editor, to run it," said business manager Angie Rinehart. "Most of our students are over 18. But we got a lot of flack from readers in the Oxford community.
"I reminded them that we are a school newspaper, not a community paper. Tobacco is not an illegal product. But I was surprised to get the order. I called Cass Communications to make sure they wanted to run it."

Evelyn Gardner, the advertising manager at the Daily Texan at the University of Texas-Austin, was just as shocked to receive the unsolicited tobacco business.
"I've been here for 10 years and had never seen any kind of tobacco ad," Gardner confided in an interview at the recent College Media Adviser's convention in New York. "I have a son who dips. It's no different than cigarettes.
"One causes cancer of the lung and one causes cancer of the mouth. But we accepted the ad. My job is to get paid advertising."
Kelly Bozeman, advertising manager of the Kernel, at the University of Kentucky, did a double take when the U.S. Tobacco orders arrived on her desk.
"This proves the tobacco companies don't practice what they preach," Bozeman said. "It shows they are talking out of both sides of their mouth."
?(Wolper, a journalism professor at Rutgers University's Newark, N.J., campus, writes often for E&P.) [Caption]
?(A newspaper insert for Copenhagen offers a free can of the smokeless
tobacco.) [Caption & Photo]
?(Ads promoting U.S. Tobacco's Rooster and Copenhagen smokeless tobacco products, as they appeared recently in the State News at Michigan State University in Lansing) [Caption & Photo]
?(E&P Web Site:http://www.mediainfo. com) [caption]
?(copyright: Editor & Publisher April 11,1998) [Caption]


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