Table 1

Chronology of tobacco industry activities regarding smoking in motion pictures since 1970

1972Productions Inc, a movie and television company, points out to RJ Reynolds that product placement in movies is “better than any commercial that has been run on television or any magazine, because the audience is totally unaware of any sponsor involvement”
1978Phillip Morris begins working with Charles Pomerance to place tobacco products in movies
1979Brown and Williamson (B&W) contracts with the product placement firm of Associated Film Promotions for placing B&W products in movies
1979Phillip Morris pays to have Marlboros featured in the movie Superman II
1980RJ Reynolds (RJR) contracts with Rogers and Cowan to develop a relationship with the television and movie industry which includes product placement, providing free product to key entertainment industry workers and promoting star use of RJR products through national media
1982American Tobacco contracts with Unique Product Placement to place American Tobacco Products in films.
1982Rogers and Cowan reports to RJR that they have arranged to have Sean Connery and others smoke Winston and Camel cigarettes in Never say Never Again for $10000
1983In spring, B&W launches a campaign placing cigarette ads in 3000 movie theatres. During July, a Kool ad is run during the “G” rated Disney film Snow White in Boston; anti-smoking activists create extensive controversy
1983In fall, B&W implements a critical audit of relationship with Associated Film Promotions questioning effectiveness and control of product placement programme
1984B&W cancels product placement and in-theatre ad programmes
1984Twentieth Century Fox Licensing and Merchandising Corporation seeks tobacco company product placement agreements which would feature products and guarantee exclusivity in films for $20000 to $25000 per film
1988Phillip Morris pays $350000 for use of Larks in James Bond movie License to Kill and for rights to run a media promotion effort to coincide with the movie's opening in Japan
1989Phillip Morris marketing study notes most “strong, positive images for cigarettes and smoking are created and perpetuated by cinema and television”
1989-90Public hearings on product placement by Congressman Thomas Luken's Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Hazardous Materials
1990US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) inquiry into product placement activities of various tobacco firms
1990RJR International contracts with Rogers and Cowan International for the placement of RJR products in films produced outside of the USA
1990Cigarette companies modify voluntary Cigarette Advertising and Promotion Code to prohibit paid product placement
1991After falling through the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, the frequency of smoking in the movies begins a rapid increase
1992UPP contract with American Tobacco is modified to limit UPP's efforts with filmmakers to being reactive rather than proactive
1996/97FTC notes that expenditures by the cigar industry for “celebrity endorsements, and appearances, and payment for product placement in movies and television more than doubled between 1996 and 1997”
1998The Cigar Manufacturers' Association adopts a voluntary policy discouraging (but not outlawing) paid and donated cigar placements in movies and on television
1998The Master Settlement Agreement prohibits participating cigarette manufacturers from product placement activities
2000Average amount of smoking in movies exceeds levels observed in the 1960s
2001Studies of films during the 1990s find continuing brand use depiction in movies with about 80% of the exposures being Philip Morris products, primarily Marlboro. Identifiable brand use by high profile stars is higher than before the tobacco industry's voluntary restrictions on product placement in movies