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Anne Landman's Collection

"Partisan Project".

Date: 14 Nov 1986
Length: 4 pages
505467389-505467392
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Abstract

Like Philip Morris (with its National Smokers' Alliance), the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (RJR) also engaged in a massive effort to organize smokers into a seemingly "independent" grassroots movement and motivate them to defend the industry's interests. RJR called its effort "The Partisan Project" or "Partisan Movement." RJR's rationale for the program is couched in hysterical anti-public health rhetoric:

"Currently, anti-smoking extremists are dominating the media and slowly but surely seizing control of the legislative process, resulting in more rules and regulations that unfairly discriminate against those who choose to smoke..."

Through its Partisan Project, RJR planned to use a massive database of information it had accumulated about its customers to contact specially-selected smokers, help them "develop an affinity with other individuals [smokers]," "create awareness of discriminatory situations" against smoking and "present avenues for opposition" for them to protest public smoking restrictions. The Partisan Project was aimed at "instilling and reinforcing feelings of effectiveness" in smokers, and creating the appearance of a massive number of smokers suddenly and spontaneously speaking out of "their own volition" to oppose public health measures. As part of the project, RJR also planned to press its sales force into service as "an 'alert network on local anti-smoking issues' " ( see http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/cgi/getdoc'tid=iiv44d00&fmt=pdf&ref=results )

Also as part of the Project, RJR planned to send a magazine to smokers called "CHOICE," that would contain "true stories of smokers who have been discriminated against." They planned to test two different versions of the publication: one would come directly from RJR, and another version would appear to come from an unrelated organization called "People for Smokers' Rights," which RJR would present "not as a national lobbying organization...but as a coalition of all smokers who believe in individual freedom of choice and will speak out to protect that right." The document adds, "As a smoker, they already belong, free of charge." Once the Partisan program was in place, RJR planned to use "a public relations program [to communicate] to the general public that opposition to smoker discrimination is growing..."

RJR test-marketed its Partisan Project in Colorado, Texas and Florida. The company hired state and local field coordinators in these states, established toll-free 800 "hot line" numbers and urged the smokers they contacted to provide the company with the names of other smokers who would be interested in joining. The company planned to expand the program to all 50 states. The Partisan Project "grass-roots operation center" was located in Winston-Salem, RJR's company headquarters. RJR planned to put $37 million into the plan by 1990. (See http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/cgi/getdoc'tid=hyv44d00&fmt=pdf&ref=results)

This document (and the others cited here) show how organized, clandestine, pervasive and well-funded RJR's efforts were to interfere with public health efforts to control the health threats caused from smoking.

Fields

Notes

Other documents describing RJR's Partisan Project can be seen at http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/cgi/getdoc?tid=iiv44d00&fmt=pdf&ref=results

http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/cgi/getdoc?tid=hyv44d00&fmt=pdf&ref=results

Quotes

Simply stated, the ultimate goal of the Partisan Project is a new environment characterized by several million people across the country speaking out against any and all forms of unfair smoker discrimination and harassment, whenever and wherever it is encountered. In other words, to encourage the growth of visible public sentiment in opposition to the current unfair anti-smoker environment.

To foster the development of this situation, we have created a multifaceted communications program. This program will directly communicate to individuals who have been selected because of their favorable attltude on at least one RJRT key issue. Through these devices, we hope to educate and motivate people to speak out...

BACKGROUND:

Currently, anti-smoking extremists are dominating the media and slowly but surely seizing control of the legislative process, resulting in more rules and regulations that unfairly discriminate against those who choose to smoke. Ultimately, the smoker is then confronted with biased and emotional rhetoric and unfair discrimination and harassment... where he works... where he goes in public, in the media he reads, and increasingly in goods and services he purchases.

The lack of "public" opposition to this discrimination has created the perception that smokers don't care about their rights and are certainly not willing to do anything about it. The "Partisan Project" is designed to correct this misconception.

PURPOSE:

To foster an informed "Public Voice" comprised of individuals nationwide speaking out in opposition to biased and emotional rhetoric and unfair discriminatory harassment of smokers on an ongoing basis and on their own volition.

Company
R.J. Reynolds
Author
Ogburn, Thomas L., Jr. (RJR Public Issues VP 1994)
Thomas L. Ogburn, Jr. was Vice President of Public Issues for RJR in 1994. (Source: R. J. Reynolds Summary - RJR Liability Notebook)
Recipient
Horrigan, Edward A., Jr. (Several RJR, Liggett and CTR Top Positions)
Director for RJR Tobacco Co. 1980-1989, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer 1979-1983, President 1979-1980, and Chairman & Chief Executive Officer 1987-1989.
Region
United States
Colorado
Named Person
Long, Gerald H. (RJR Director, 1979-88; President '82-86)
Chief Operating Officer of RJ Reynolds, 1982-83, CEO of RJR 1984-86, served on Tobacco Institute Executive Committee, 1984-87. Replaced Ed Horrigan as president of RJR's domestic tobacco business.
People For Smokers Rights
Type
LETTER
Operation/Project
RJR Partisan Movement (Smoker/ally recruitment program)
R.J. Reynolds' project to use its smoker database to develop a massive "grassroots" lobbying network by tapping into and recruiting large numbers of smokers whom RJR would organize to "rise up" to "defend their rights." Utilized field organizers. Colorado was a pilot state.
Subject
Grassroots (Tobacco company efforts to organize smokers)
Wanted to create the appearance of a massive, upset electorate becoming vocal and active to oppose public health smoking restrictions, tax increases on cigarettes, etc.
smokers' rights group
industry activity
industry front group
industry influence
industry response
industry strategy

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Page 1: jzs15d00
F.,! Reynolds Tooacco C_'' Tc.. _ Ocbirr•, Jr D r.; . . Public issues November 14, 1986 Mr. E. A. Horrigan, Jr. Subject: "Partisan Project" I hope the following provides the highlights of the "Partisan Project" you were looking for. I will not have the actual printed communication pieces until next Monday, November 17. I have a review with Jerry that morning and will send them out to you immediately thereafter. We would like to begin mailing the introductory packages to smokers in our Colorado test area that afternoon, if all goes well. The "Partisan Project" in Summary Simply stated, the ultimate goal of the Partisan Project is a new environment characterized by several million people across the country speaking out against any and all forms of unfair smoker discrimination and harassment, whenever and wherever it is encountered. In other words, to encourage the growth of visible public sentiment in opposition to the current unfair anti-smoker environment. To foster the development of this situation, we have created a multifaceted communications program. This program will directly communicate to individuals who have been selected because of their favorable attitude on at least one RJRT key issue. Through these devices, we hope to educate and motivate people to speak out... to express their feelings. We will -make them aware of instances of discrimination and to whom they should-make their views known. We will then reinforce such public response through appropriate publicity, hopefully encouraging a self-sustaining movement. The "Partisan Project" in Greater Detail BACKGROUND: Currently, anti-smoking extremists are dominating the media and slowly but surely seizing control of the legislative process, resulting in more rules and regulations that unfairly discriminate against those who choose to smoke. Ultimately, the smoker is then confronted with biased and emotional rhetoric and unfair discrimination and harassment... where he works... where he goes in
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public... in the media he reads... and increasingly in goods and services he purchases. The lack of "public" opposition to this discrimination has created the perception that smokers don't care about their rights and are certainly not willing to do anything about it. The "Partisan Project" is designed to correct this misconception. PURPOSE: To foster an informed "Public Voice" comprised of individuals nationwide speaking out in opposition to biased and emotional rhetoric and unfair discriminatory harassment of smokers on an ongoing basis and on their own volition. STRATEGIES: 1. Using RJRT's massive computer list of smokers, identify individuals who agree with RJR on at least one important issue and who have a likelihood of speaking out. 2. Using a multifaceted program, communicate with each individual to: A. Educate through communication of information and RJRT's position. B. Motivate: by creating a feeling of effectiveness by developing an affinity with other individuals reinforcing positive response C. Create awareness of discriminatory situations. D. Present avenues for opposition. E. Generate communication back to RJRT providing: Updates on local and state issues Material for the next edition of CHOICE Names of additional potential "partisans" Address changes to maintain our lists. COMMUNICATION ACTION PROGRAMS: • To educate and motivate all "partisans," a four page newsletter called CHOICE will be published and sent to all in our target audience. This publication will report on the current discriminatory environment surrounding smokers. It will encourage individuals to speak out and let their views be known. It will instill and reinforce feelings of effectiveness. It includes articles on the powerful voice of 50 million smokers, investigative
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--true stories of smokers who have been discriminated against, letters from smokers and our answers, reprints of press clips and cartoons and a brief summary of what's happening at the legislative level around the country. The f irst issue of CHOICE is accompanied by a letter from G. H. Long explaining the program. CHOICE will then be sent every other month to everyone in our target audience. • To stimulate action by "partisans" by making them aware of specific issues and informing them how they can express their views, a two page (single-sheet) news brief will be published under the banner of REGULATORY WATCH. Because smokers differ in their opinions on the issues, different editions will be published with each edition addressing only one issue. Initially, there will be two editions, one on taxes and one on restrictions. Only smokers who have a favorable position on an issue will receive the REGULATORY WATCH edition covering that issue. Each edition will highlight 3 - 5 key events or pieces of legislation using local situations whenever possible. Readers are told to whom they can express their views. Editions covering a particular issue (e.g. taxes) will be sent every other month. • To solicit responses back to RJRT from our readers, CHOICE LINE has been developed. This response card and accompanying envelope will solicit all of the information covered in E above and will be included with each edition of CHOICE. A similar device will be included in REGULATORY WATCH. • We have developed and will test two alternative positionings for these communication pieces, both of which will be tested in Colorado. In one positioning, CHOICE and REGULATORY WATCH come directly from RJRT in response to requests from smokers. The second positioning uses the same publications but in this case they come from an umbrella organization sponsored by RJRT. This organization is "People for Smokers Rights." This is presented not as a national lobbying organization that represents the views of its dues paying members in legislative battles, but as a coalition of all smokers who believe in individual freedom of choice and will speak out to protect that right. As a smoker, they already belong, free of charge. 3. A public relations program will aid in communicating to the general public that opposition to smoker discrimination is growing, as well as positively reinforcing people who speak out and encouraging those who haven't responded to do so in the future. 4. When a specific issue arises that warrants concentrated industry action, i.e. a federal or state tax increase, core groups of activists can be targeted using traditional direct-mail efforts. This differs from other aspects of the program in that we ask for specific opposition to a specific issue and provide the ways and means to respond.
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TEST MARKET PLANS Colorado is a test and lead market. We have identified 60,000 smokers who have responded to Public Issues' direct-mail efforts previously, thus, we know how they feel on some key issues. They have been divided into three matched groups of 20,000 each. Group 1 will receive CHOICE bi-monthly. REGULATORY WATCH will also be sent bi-monthly. But if a smoker qualifies for both editions (i.e. taxes and restrictions), he would receive one every four weeks in that they are sent on alternating months. Group 2 will receive the same publications with the same frequency, but under the "People for Smokers Rights" program sponsored by RJRT. Group 3 is a heavy-up of Group 1 that will receive CHOICE every month and REGULATORY WATCH as usual. We are simultaneously testing several screeners to determine the most effective way to identify candidates from our smoker lists. Once this is done, we will screen the remaining smokers on our list in Colorado and add them to our test in the first quarter of 1987. Hopefully, this will take our audience from 60,000 to 100,000+. Because of the nature of this program, it is likely that recognition of a growing favorable "public voice" will be difficult to recognize immediately. Thus, results will be monitored with this in mind, looking for positive or negative signs in two ways: "Micro" tracking will utilize quarterly surveys conducted among our three samples of respondents measuring awareness, attitudes and actions. "Macro" tracking will monitor letters to the editor, news coverage, response to legislation or high profile public issues, as well as spontaneous playback from the people with whom we communicate. Should everything look good in the first half of 1987 and funds be available, our next step will be to expand the program to approximately 750,000 people who have responded to our previous direct-mail efforts on a state by state basis. We would then add others as they are screened from our smoker list. As you know, I feel very good about this program. Our research says that the target audience should be extremely receptive. Obviously, we will be learning, modifying and improving during this initial test period. If I can answer any questions, please let me know. Regards, TLO/cb cc: Mr. G. H. Long Mr. Gene Ainsworth

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