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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

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