Anne Landman's Collection
Project Brass: A Plan of Action for the ETS Issue
Length: 47 pages
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This document, Project Brass: A Plan of Action for the ETS Issue, written by the Leo Burnett Company for Philip Morris (PM), reveals the potency of the threat the issue of Environmental Tobacco Smoke, or ETS, posed to the tobacco industry:
"For the first time, report provides alleged proof of link between ETS and cancer...Shifts argument from 'personal choice' to 'smoking is unhealthy for everyone'...Arms antis with scientific proof to go to OSHA...Fuels emotional hysteria of antis...Will likely accelerate efforts to prohibit/restrict smoking further...Alters image of smoker [from] 'Bad for him/her,' to 'smoker is bad for all of us.'...Puts further pressure on volume/revenue/profit trends."
The strategies Burnett proposed to fight the ETS issue were: to broaden the ETS issue to encompass total indoor air quality (and thus deflect attention away from the ETS issue), to use "credible third parties" to help the company fight public health measures, and to "create a sense of doubt about the EPA ETS report" [Page 30].
PM has employed, and continues to employ, many of the strategies Burnett proposed in this document. For example, the company continues to "Frame the issue as a bigger one that just ETS" by claiming ventilation is the best solution to secondhand smoke. The company creates and works through "credible" third parties like the "Hospitality Coalition for Indoor Air." In virtually every venue where a public health smoking restriction is proposed, some business group claims that the law is too much "government intervention," an anti-government strategy proposed by Burnett in Project Brass (see the strategy Burnett describes on Page 25, "Raise Flag of Government Intervention: Attempts to shift focus from EPA ETS report to one of the government interfering again").
PM also had another goal: to convince financial analysts that the ETS issue was not a long term threat to PM's growth and earnings and to get them to "maintain a positive financial outlook on PM."
On January 7, 1993, EPA issied a report classifying Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) as a Group "A" carcinogen.
--Linked ETS to increased risk of lung cancer. --Positioned ETS as a public health threat.
For the first time, report provides alleged proof of link between ETS and cancer...
...Now with the ETS study, we are on the defensive. Anti's have news, the momentum and are carrying the issue forward.
--Non-smoking lobby has a new strategic weapon with EPA scientific report. --Shifts argument from "personal choice" to "smoking is unhealthy for everyone"
--Arms antis with scientific proof to go to OSHA... ...Fuels emotional hysteria of antis, White house banning smoking, etc.
--Will likely accellerate efforts to prohibit/restrict smoking further: public places, stadiums, office buildings.
--Alters image of smoker--Bad for him/her, to "smoker" is bad for all of us. --Puts further pressure on volume/revenue/profit trends.
How do we pro-activaly develop a long-term program which addresses the highly emotional ETS issue and the concerns of smokers/non-smokers?...
In the face of new report, PM has stated two corporate obejctives:
1. "Forestall further public smoking restrictions/bans." 2. "Create a decided change in public opinion. Develop an atmosphere more conducive to smokers with the general public and for smokers themselves."
...Shift the focus from teh EPA report in the short-term and offer practical solutions in the long-term.
...Counter the anti's effort...
[From Page 16]:
Desired beliefs and attitudes [to foster in the audience]: --The EPA has misused science to force a conclusion. --This "Bad Science" should be refuted... --We should address the bigger issue of air quality and do something about that.
...Frame the issue as a bigger one than just ETS.
--ETS is a small part of the air quality problem... --What other personal freedoms in the workplace is the government going to restrict?
DESIRED ACTION [for audience]: --...Fight against any further smoking restrictions in the workplace.
[From Page 22+]:
STRATEGIC ELEMENTS OF PROGRAM...
1. Develop an alliance of concerned parties. --Provide group of credible organizations. --Absolutely critical
2. Shift the focus from EPA report to a larger, more universal issue.
--Prevents separating ETS from other issues --Sense of priorities
3. Become part of the solution.
--Support/test alternatives to improve the situation. --Sense of the "positive."..
4. Educate the target from a balanced, practical perspective...
[From Page 30]
Create a sense of doubt about EPA ETS report --> Evolve issue to total air quality ---> Propose potential solutions --> Call to action
Believe this is optimal umbrella approach:
Strategically shifts focus thus abating crisis in short term Longer term provides hope by discussing alternative solutions Tonality is positive, straightforward, honest Offers critical mass of umbrella approach
[From Page 35]:
Create a coordinated "burst" of impactful news to selected audiences...
- Philip Morris
- Leo Burnett
- Philip Morris (corporate recipient)