INFACT: the boycott on Philip Morris is working

BOSTON: The activist group INFACT is using results from the

recently released Harris Interactive corporate reputation survey (see

story, p.6) to bolster claims that its PR efforts to publicize a

widespread and high-profile boycott of Philip Morris products is

working.



The poll found that 16% of respondents familiar with Philip Morris have

boycotted its products over the past year. INFACT claims a 5% consumer

boycott level is the threshold that indicates the action is having an

impact on a company.



INFACT began its boycott of Kraft products in 1994, but has turned up

the PR heat since 1999 when Philip Morris began a corporate image

campaign talking about the charitable works of its employees. The

cigarette maker owns Kraft Foods and Miller Brewing.



INFACT's latest PR weapon has been a $149,000 film, Philip

Morris, Kraft and Global Tobacco Addiction, that it has shown more than

75 times in 33 countries.



'It's been a combination of that film along with working to get media

coverage of it,' said Patti Lynn, associate campaign director with

INFACT.



Regional newspapers such as the Richmond Times Dispatch and the Austin

American Statesman have written about the film and the boycott.



INFACT distributes the film through community and religious groups and

plans to step up distribution leading up to Philip Morris' annual

meeting in late April. 'Its hard to compete with Philip Morris' PR

machine, but what we have on our side is the truth,' Lynn said.



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