WASHINGTON: The joke was on the tobacco industry this April Fools
Day weekend when the American Legacy Foundation, an anti-smoking group,
unleashed a new ad that garnered widespread PR.
The ad, which had many Americans wide-eyed and scratching their heads,
featured someone purporting to be a tobacco industry spokesman
announcing a recall of all cigarettes 'until the industry can offer the
American public a cigarette that poses absolutely no health risks.' An
April Fools' message came at the end of the ad which ran March 31 and
PR for the ad started the week before, however, with two agencies -
Porter Novelli's DC office and ad*itive, a New York shop - garnering
coverage in mainstream media as well as on teen-oriented Web sites and
radio stations once the ad had run.
Porter Novelli went after adult media, getting coverage on NBC's Today,
CNN and Bloomberg radio, said Kathryn Kahler, SVP with Porter Novelli in
DC. More than 100 stories were written or broadcast about the commercial
last week, and early estimates are that 10 million people saw reports on
Ad*itive sent copies of the TV ad to the nation's top 50 radio stations
last Monday morning to get additional play after its weekend
It also had 100 people calling stations to generate buzz about the ad
and targeted 50-100 Web sites aimed at teens and adults, said Que
Gaskins, chief marketing officer for the agency which works in Hispanic,
African-American, Asian and other ethnic markets.
'This is one of the rare instances where you have adults and teens
talking about the same thing,' said Gaskins.