Last week we revealed that Gerald Reid, Director of the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages & Lottery Operations failed to mention his past history marketing various cigarette brands as a marketing executive for Brown & Williamson Tobacco, one of the four companies that partook in the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement agreement..
The R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Online Litigation Document Archive houses documents used in various tobacco related lawsuits. A search of the archives returns more than 1,700 documents authored or co-authored by Reid. A number of them relate to advertising strategies to increase Brown & Williamson market share among certain groups, including youth and minorities. Another frequent subject relates to dealing with health concerns of cigarette smoking in product advertising.
A sample of some “lowlights” found thus far:
On July 30, 1976, Reid authored a memo, “VICEROY Creative Work Plan,” which sought to improve the brands standing compared to Winston and Marlboro. Reid wrote that it was mandatory that “advertising must give VICEROY a youthful, high-quality look” and that targets for the advertising included
“-males 16-35 primarily
-Annual income under $15,000
-Not college graduates”
Several memos authored by Reid targeted increasing market share among black and hispanic individuals for Kool cigarettes.
On October 25, 1978, Reid submitted a memo on the “1979 KOOL Black Magazine/Supplemental Campaign” stating “the respect of the Black community seemed to go to those advertisers that subordinated blatant product sell to concepts which related the product to Black achievements, pride and desire for a pleasurable and gratifying lifestyle” and suggesting developing “a permanent Kool Black magazine campaign which has at its core strategy famous Black musicians and or Black contribution to and enjoyment of music.”
Then in 1979 he criticized an ad agency that had been delinquent in recognizing the importance of ethnic markets to KOOL and providing requisite resources in marketing planning and creative areas:
“Agency has been delinquent in recognizing the importance of ethnic markets to KOOL and providing requisite resources in the marketing planning and creative areas. Black creative improvements required excessive client pressure and Spanish creative remains a suboptimal modification of generic campaigns.”
Reid also authored a number of letters and memos suggesting approaches to the health issues surrounding cigarette smoking.
A letter from January 4, 1977 instructed ad agency that ”all new Viceroy creative should be based on the ‘full flavor with health reassurance’ strategy that I supplied to you.”
On March 22, 1978, Reid authored a memo addressing health concerns in advertising and expressing a concern that such negative language could lead to individuals quitting smoking. Reid writes:
“We do not support definition in advertising of the problem of gas in order to specifically communicate its consumer benefit and distinguish it from low ‘tar’. To supply such a definition would require over references to the alleged ciliatoxic and cardiovascular ill effects of smoking. The possible ramifications of this in the Legal, Regulatory, and Policy area are appalling. We also believe it is simply bad selling strategy to use such negative scare tactics to sell cigarettes. A likely result of such activity on our part would be escalation of quitting rates among smokers.”
Our review of documents will continue, with new information being shared as uncovered.