Friday, February 18, 2011

Tobacco firms bypass marketing restrictions with clever web campaigns

Tobacco companies may be bypassing marketing bans by secretly posting promotional videos online, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Otago, New Zealand, and published in the journal Tobacco Control.

"Tobacco companies stand to benefit greatly from the marketing potential of Web 2.0, without themselves being at significant risk of being implicated in violating any laws or advertising codes," the researchers wrote.

The researchers analyzed the first 20 pages of YouTube search results featuring five different tobacco brands, consisting of 163 video clips.

"It is disturbing to note that some of the pro-tobacco videos appeared to be of a professional standard, many followed similar themes within a brand and large numbers contained images or music that may be copyrighted to tobacco companies but have not been removed," they said. Read more...

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