Daily Doc: PM, Oct, 1996: Philip Morris: National Expert on Women

Daily Doc: Philip Morris: National Expert on Women

Title: Virginia Slims Opinion Poll Public Relations Plan

PM, Oct 1996
Bates #: 2044417376-7386

October 28, 2000

Here is a fine example of a major corporation creating news and pushing it into the major media to benefit sales of its products, in this case deadly products. This document, Virginia Slims Opinion Poll Public Relations Plan, reveals Philip Morris' (PM) haughty positioning of itself as the nation's single most authoritative expert on women's issues. They did this by releasing the results of a "Virginia Slims" women's poll to the media with expertly choreographed fanfare. One of Philip Morris' PR objectives for this contrived media event was to:
"Position the Virginia Slims Opinion Poll as the nation's most authoritative chronicler of women's issues and opinions -- only Virginia Slims has the history, the heritage and the scope."
A celebrity media tour spokesperson for the event was Adele Scheele, PhD, a graduate of the University of California Los Angeles whom PM touted as a "A career strategist and women's issues expert," who "has also published articles in Working Woman and McCall's." Of her, PM says, "She delivers her thoughtful insights to problems women experience in the workplace with conviction and warmth."

A second media tour spokesperson was Judy Kuriansky, PhD, author of articles in Ladies Home Journal. She had appeared on Donahue, CNN, Sally Jessy Raphael Show and CNBC.

A short note appears after these women's names in this marketing document which reads,
"Please note: Personal interviews were conducted with Adele and Judy -- both support VS and are comfortable with tobacco issues."
Key poll findings to be released to the media included largely negative-sounding "poll" results which seemed destined to reinforce women's general feelings of stress, helplessness and a lack of control over their lives, for example,
"More than half the women think men are basically selfish and self-centered, up 15% from 1990,"

"Women's satisfaction with specific areas of their lives has declined since 1990,"

"84% of women feel they face more restrictions than men, even with changes,"

"78% of women feel too much pressure in juggling work, family and marriage."
PM tossed the "exclusive first release of the entire poll for publication the day of official announcement" out to the Associate Press, and gave gifts to media representatives attending press conferences. One gift was a kaleidoscope that said, "Thank you for sharing the many changing views with us..."

PM took this "women's issues" road show on tour to a host of major news markets in the U.S., including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Miami, Atlanta, Cleveland, and many more. Interestingly, San Francisco and Los Angeles in this document were marked with asterisks (*) that denoted,
"Sensitive markets with large anti-contingents."
In these markets, PM Media Affairs Department recommended using a
"more strategic, targeted approach rather than a broad-based pitch to media. In addition, outlets with any call-in segments in these markets will be avoided."
Congratulations to tobacco control contingents in Los Angeles and San Francisco for creating a climate where PM had to use extra caution and avoid phone-in talk shows!

Title: Virginia Slims Opinion Poll Public Relations Plan
Type of Document: Media Plan
Author: N/A Corporate
Author Philip Morris Tobacco Company Recipient:
Date: 19961000
Site: Philip Morris Document site http://www.pmdocs.com/ and Tobacco Documents Online (TDO) http://www.tobaccodocuments.org/
Page Count 11
Bates No. 2044417376-7386
URL: http://my.tobaccodocuments.org/tdo/view.cfm?CitID=1292126&GetListArrayIdx=60&ShowImages=yes
Litigation Usage: Not used yet
Found Using Search Criteria: "Worldwide and plan" on TDO

(significant quotes are above).

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Anne Landman, Regional Program Coordinator
American Lung Association of Colorado, West Region Office
Grand Junction, CO
(970) 245-2120
This document's URL is: http://www.tobacco.org/Documents/dd/ddpmexpertonwomen.html

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