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November 16th, 2001

The New Philip Morris

Are you tired of buying your food from Philip Morris? How about your Kraft Macaroni and Cheese? Your Boca Burgers? Well, that’s all been taken care of – Philip Morris is changing its name to Altria.

Essentially, it’s a big PR move for a company that’s suffering. People don’t think very highly of Philip Morris, even though they constantly tell people that they’re a good company. The big deal behind this is to alleviate fears of consumers who face the same dilemma I mentioned in the comments of Ryan’s Ping: do I want to buy mac-and-cheese from the same company that makes cancer sticks? Now, if I wasn’t aware of this, I’d think, “Oh! Cool, now it’s all made by Altria.”

Which is PM’s big goal: to separate their food and death-on-a-stick target markets. Or as their marketese goes…

The proposal to clarify the parent company identity comes two years after a successful effort to improve the image of the Philip Morris family of companies.

Right, right. I imagine there are a good number of people who liked those feel-good commercials, and suddenly viewed PM as a big, cuddly, coughing, wheezing teddy bear.

In addition to the ethical dilemma, the name “Altria” just sounds stupid – and the logo is no better. It sounds like a new search engine or computer thingamajig… but that too is probably intentional. That way, people associate those products with a cigarette-and-booze company even less.

Disgusting. I’m anxious to see how the public reacts. -pm

Posted in Consumer Commentary

FROM: Robert
DATE: Friday November 16, 2001 -- 10:03:52AM
"Altria" sounds like some form of pond scum. Sounds appropriate!

FROM: Patrick
DATE: Friday November 16, 2001 -- 10:09:13AM
I don't care what the name is. I don't buy their products and won't in the future.

Their logo is quite awful (I do some logo design -- of the sort they were aiming for, but missed widely). It doesn't scale down worth crap (it scales up, but when scaling down you lose so much clarity that it is almost like a puke blotch) and hardly conveys the notions of the 'new' company goals.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Friday November 16, 2001 -- 4:59:52PM
NextDraft had an amusing summary of this story... I like the final sentence:

Philip Morris has decided they want to change their corporate image and shift attention away from their cigarette businesses. The new name will be Altria Group. {I tried using this name for a few hours, but I had an incredible craving to go back to calling them Philip Morris. In other news, Lung Cancer has changed its name to Shirley.}

FROM: fresh
DATE: Friday November 16, 2001 -- 11:42:04PM
dont bang on smokes though and mac and cheese is a great meal but the name change may fool some. Also i saw a billboard for an AA meeting sponsered by budwiser which seems a tadbit wierd to me

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