Cannes Lions: Philip Morris Seeks Creatives’ Help in Shift From Cigarettes


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Philip Morris at Cannes Lions 2018

Philip Morris International, which makes six of the world’s top 15 cigarette brands including #1 brand Marlboro, wants to help create a smoke-free world—and it’s challenging the creative community to help it market alternatives to cigarettes.

“It’s clear that our product in its current form causes disease,” said PMI CEO Andre Calantzopoulos at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity on Thursday, where its executives touted the company’s “transformation” on a number of panels. “Once you recognize that, you have to make a better product for the people who cannot quit or who do not want to quit.”

Philip Morris International logoIts goal (which has its critics) is to “offer smoke-free alternatives wherever we can, including heated tobacco products and e-cigarettes, to current smokers… who would otherwise continue to smoke.”  As its website now states, “We are Philip Morris International (PMI), a leading tobacco company, and we are committed to designing a smoke-free future.”

In short, it would like everyone to stop smoking—but since not everyone can quit cigarettes cold turkey, PMI argues that its tobacco-free alternatives are safer than cigarettes. Whether it will continue to market and sell its cigarettes is another matter. An article on PMI’s homepage asks, “How long will PMI be in the cigarette business?” Its ‘Who We Are’ page has the answer: “For those who choose to continue to smoke, we will continue to off them the best quality products.”

By not quitting the cigarette business, as CVS did as a retailer in America, is PMI addicted to the thing it’s asking consumers to quit? Its “Who We Are” page continues:

“We’re dedicated to doing something very dramatic – replacing cigarettes with the smoke-free products that we’re developing and selling. That’s why we have a total of over 400 dedicated scientists, engineers, and technicians developing less harmful alternatives to cigarettes at our two Research & Development sites in Switzerland and Singapore. It’s the biggest shift in our history. And it’s the right one for our consumers, our company, our shareholders, and society.”

So it’s not getting out of the cigarette business; it’s “building a new portfolio of smoke-free alternatives… In addition to our leading international and local cigarette brand portfolio, we’re also commercializing smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes which we call reduced-risk products (RRPs). In this dynamic area of RRPs, we have already introduced IQOS and Solaris.”

It’s a corporate shift in messaging that requires the help of the world’s best creatives and marketers, as PMI pitched Cannes on Thursday.

“People who smoke deserve information about better alternatives. The media industry can play an important role in making this happen, including by championing this initiative,” stated Jacek Olczak, Chief Operating Officer of Philip Morris International. “Quitting tobacco and nicotine remains the best option for smokers, but for those who don’t, science-based non-combustible alternatives are a better choice than continuing to use cigarettes.”

He continued, “We want a world where all people who would otherwise continue to smoke instead switch to less harmful alternatives. We started with a bold statement in Cannes: we are looking to create a world where all these smokers switch to better alternatives. Now it’s time to make sure people know we are serious. And now, we are following up with concrete actions.”

Also speaking at The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity on Thursday (in a fireside chat with veteran marketer Bonin Bough, at top), PMI’s SVP of Communications Marian Salzman said, “We are asking the creative community to join us in raising awareness of the potential of science, technology and innovation for those who smoke and the people around them.”

More details are in its press release and its tweets today:

Our CEO & @nytimes best-selling author @LeeMWoodruff will explore: Can branding, innovation & science lead to dramatic shift for people who smoke, those around them & public health? Follow us for live updates 11am CET from @Cannes_Lions @Brand_Innovator Roundtable #Cannes2018 pic.twitter.com/woMuexfoHu

— Philip Morris Intl (@InsidePMI) June 20, 2018

It's getting started! We’re excited for @Cannes_Lions #BISummit Roundtable — Our CEO André Calantzopoulos sits down with best-selling author @LeeMWoodruff for discussion on #InsidePMI’s ambitious vision for a #SmokeFreeFuture #CannesLions pic.twitter.com/5XxaX2JQkP

— Philip Morris Intl (@InsidePMI) June 20, 2018

#InsidePMI CEO André Calantzopoulos @Cannes_Lions #BISummit Roundtable: "It's clear that our product in current form causes disease… Once you recognize that, you have to make a better product for the people who cannot quit or do not want to quit." #SmokeFreeFuture #CannesLions pic.twitter.com/jKqbb3ZqAJ

— Philip Morris Intl (@InsidePMI) June 20, 2018

"If we have a better product, people should know about it and make their own choices." #InsidePMI @Cannes_Lions #BISummit Roundtable #SmokeFreeFuture #CannesLions @Brand_Innovator pic.twitter.com/uBK9k7cdsq

— Philip Morris Intl (@InsidePMI) June 20, 2018

#InsidePMI CEO: "For those marketeers in the room, this is one of the biggest marketing challenges: How do you take an industry that has not talked publicly for years, and you change the equation to move people off of cigarettes?" @Cannes_Lions @Brand_Innovator Roundtable pic.twitter.com/5XxHj0plPe

— Philip Morris Intl (@InsidePMI) June 20, 2018

"If you have the means to produce products that are better, you must do it. It doesn't make any sense not to." @Cannes_Lions @Brand_Innovator Roundtable #smokefreefuture #CannesLions #BISummit #Cannes2018 #CannesLions2018 pic.twitter.com/0p8WnaHdrD

— Philip Morris Intl (@InsidePMI) June 20, 2018

"When you move into new areas like #science & #tech, you have to partner with other industries – #engineers & #digital. Your job as a leader is to ask the right questions rather than to have all the answers." @Cannes_Lions @Brand_Innovator Roundtable #CannesLions #smokefreefuture pic.twitter.com/tk6etr6H46

— Philip Morris Intl (@InsidePMI) June 20, 2018

"We need to bring the right people & the right partners to achieve our #smokefreefuture vision, in order to find the right solutions for society" @Cannes_Lions @Brand_Innovator Roundtable #CannesLions #CannesLions2018 #BIsummit pic.twitter.com/fXrgh2IZLS

— Philip Morris Intl (@InsidePMI) June 20, 2018

#InsidePMI @MoiraGilchrist1 Keynote Speaker today at 3pm CET: our cutting-edge scientific program & the evidence that shows switching to our most advanced product is a much better choice than cigarettes. Follow us here for live updates from @PMIScience Lounge @Cannes_Lions pic.twitter.com/xy1a6GzJZ5

— Philip Morris Intl (@InsidePMI) June 20, 2018

#InsidePMI @MoiraGilchrist1 – Live from @PMIScience Lounge @Cannes_Lions: "Can we make our current product obsolete? Can we change the entire tobacco industry? Can we make the lives better of the 1 billion + smokers?" #SmokeFreeFuture #CannesLions pic.twitter.com/75oEqLnueR

— Philip Morris Intl (@InsidePMI) June 20, 2018

What are independent #scientists saying? @MoiraGilchrist1: "They are conducting their own research and we will start to see over time that increasing numbers of independent bodies will come to the same conclusion." @PMIScience @Cannes_Lions #SmokeFreeFuture #CannesLions pic.twitter.com/AQAqNcZ1Es

— Philip Morris Intl (@InsidePMI) June 20, 2018

"We all feel so passionately that this has the potential to have a massive impact on public health. We want to offer better alternatives to those 1bn smokers so that they may find one that suits them." says @MoiraGilchrist1, @PMIScience @Cannes_Lions #SmokeFreeFuture #CannesLions pic.twitter.com/kaLZjymJRG

— Philip Morris Intl (@InsidePMI) June 20, 2018

What do we think of the word “transformation”? #InsidePMI SVP @MarianSalzman Keynote Speaker today at 4pm CET: When we can turn our #smokefreefuture vision into reality, we have undergone a #transformation. Follow us here for live updates from @PMIScience Lounge @Cannes_Lions pic.twitter.com/BnJHxP82b2

— Philip Morris Intl (@InsidePMI) June 21, 2018

#InsidePMI @mariansalzman: "I would like to help other people around the world give up smoking. I’m a movements person and I recognize if people pick up the message, great things can happen." Live from @PMIScience Lounge @Cannes_Lions #Cannes_Lions pic.twitter.com/uJMonXQRTm

— Philip Morris Intl (@InsidePMI) June 21, 2018

What does #transformation mean? @mariansalzman: "I think of reinvention of what we do & what people think of smokers and of PMI. I just hope people are open to hearing the message. When someone you know and love moves from smoking to better alternatives, give them a hug." pic.twitter.com/5Xgcr6wIRM

— Philip Morris Intl (@InsidePMI) June 21, 2018

Why @mariansalzman joined PMI: "I’d like people to move to better alternatives to cigarettes. I’d like to help one of the largest companies in the world move to a new space in #technology and #science." @PMIScience Lounge @Cannes_Lions #CannesLions pic.twitter.com/ISBAEWZIba

— Philip Morris Intl (@InsidePMI) June 21, 2018

"I want to announce that we want to help any agency we work with to go smoke-free. All you have to do is drop us an email & we will work with you to support you. It would be great if we could get the creative community engaged." @PMIScience Lounge @Cannes_Lions #Cannes_Lions pic.twitter.com/lcCIf1XF7a

— Philip Morris Intl (@InsidePMI) June 21, 2018

Calling on the #media & #creative communities to switch to better alternatives and embrace our ongoing commitment to create a world without cigarettes. Learn more about how you can help create a #smokefreefuture: https://t.co/7jnmCtuiaG pic.twitter.com/91agu24vkI

— Philip Morris Intl (@InsidePMI) June 21, 2018

On World #NoTobacco Day, find out why we’re transforming our business to give smokers less harmful alternatives: https://t.co/dPLEEAFGrB #InsidePMI #WorldNoSmokingDay pic.twitter.com/qXDdqQTd23

— Philip Morris Intl (@InsidePMI) May 31, 2018

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Tags: Health, Singapore, Uncategorized, Advertising, America, Public Health, Switzerland, Cannes, Cvs, Marlboro, Philip Morris, Cannes Lions, Philip Morris International, SVP, PMI, Marian Salzman, Andre Calantzopoulos, Bonin Bough, Jacek Olczak, Philip Morris International PMI, Philip Morris Intl, ISBAEWZIba Philip Morris Intl

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