Young & Rubicam

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{{#badges: tobaccowiki}} Young & Rubicam helped develop many cigarette ad campaigns. It is now known as Young & Rubicam Brands (Y&R) -- formerly known as Young & Rubicam Inc. -- is the "advertising and media services unit" of the UK-based WPP Group. "Y&R operates primarily through its flagship creative ad agency, Y&R Advertising, but it also offers consulting and marketing services through Wunderman and public relations through Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe. Its Landor unit is a leading brand building shop. Y&R, which has about 540 offices in 80 countries, was acquired by WPP in 2000." --Hoovers, accessed December 12, 2005.

Tim Lefroy - former CEO

Young & Rubicam and the tobacco industry

Secondhand smoke language exploratory

In 1993, Young & Rubicam (Y&R) prepared a presentation for Philip Morris that proposed the company use specific terminology in public discussions about secondhand smoke to help take the focus off the health issue and "Help forestall further smoking bans and restrictions in public/work places." Y&R suggested Philip Morris use terms like "indirect smoke" and "incidental smoke" instead of secondhand smoke. To describe public health advocates, Y&R suggests the terms

  • HVE's - Highly vocal extremists
  • ASA's - Anti-smoking Alarmists

Y&R suggested referring to smoking bans as

  • Exclusionary remedies
  • Reactionary legislation
  • "Knee-jerk" legislation

They also recommend some new terms for smokers:

"On-site absentees: people who come to work, but must exercise their right to smoke outside the building."

"Corporate MIA's: people who are missing in action while they go outside to smoke."

"Corporate Stoops: places in front of buildings where people go in order to smoke."

Y&R suggested referring to EPA science as:

  • Inconclusive research
  • Skewed research
  • Data manipulation
  • Selective analysis
  • Biased analysis
  • "Political" Science
  • Scare du Jour
  • Alarmist Science
  • Panic Button Science

While these terms may sound silly, the industry did actually use them. Click on the following link to see an industry-created ETS advertisement that uses two of the above phrases in the first paragraph:

Dave's cigarette

Around 1994, Y&R was awarded the assignment for advertising Philip Morris' "Dave's" low-priced cigarette brand. The plan was to portray "Dave's" as a sort of "microbrew" cigarette, with advertising that made the brand appear to be produced by an honest, small-town, back-country, renegade young guy named "Dave" who drives an old yellow pickup truck. Dave's cigarette brand was test-marketed starting October/November 1994.(WSJ 9/13/94). Dave's was later exposed as a Philip Morris product and the brand eventually disappeared.

Y&R lost R.J. Reynolds Reynolds' Camel cigarette brand account in 1991 when two Y&R Executives resigned to form Mezzina/Brown, which remains Camel's ad agency (1994) (Wall Street Journal 9/13/94). In April 199?, Y&R was awarded an unspecified tobacco assignment from Philip Morris covering "consumer and trade promotions, special projects and new product development." The "Dave's" project is the first to spring from that assignment. Y&R handles the "issue-oriented ads" that serve as counterattacks in the controversy over second-hand smoke. Those print ads have the slogan "In any controversy, facts must matter" (1994) (WSJ 9/13/94).


Client Partners

Contact Information

Y&R Headquarters
285 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212 210-3000
Website (Young & Rubicam Brands):

External links

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