Philip Morris Drops Complaint Against Canadian AIDS Group’s Safe Sex Ads
U.S.-based tobacco company Philip Morris International will not sue the AIDS Committee of Toronto over the group's safe sex advertisements featuring cowboy imagery similar to that used in Philip Morris' ad campaigns for Marlboro cigarettes, the Toronto Globe and Mail reports (Heinzl, Toronto Globe and Mail, 7/21). ACT's ads, which were released last month to coincide with Toronto's gay pride festivities, bear the slogan "Welcome to Condom Country" and feature a picture of two gay cowboys ready to kiss. Below the picture a caption reads, "HIV is on the rise in Toronto. Ride Safely." Philip Morris called the ads a "blatant copy" of its 40-year-old Marlboro Man campaign, which also features "rustic settings and a ruggedly handsome cowboy" and the slogan "Welcome to Marlboro country" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/27). Philip Morris had initially asked ACT to "pull" the ads, but company spokesperson Robert Kaplan said that the firm "supports the fight against HIV and AIDS and is dropping the matter." He added, "We are not taking any action at this stage and I'm doubtful that we ever will take any action." ACT spokesperson Lee Zaslofsky said, "We're pleased that this flap is behind us" (Toronto Globe and Mail, 7/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.