We're Rich, You're Dead!



On May 12, 2010, Licensed to Kill’s Senior VP of Corporate Communications attended Philip Morris International's shareholder meeting in New York City to bestow the company's prestigious "Golden Coffin" award on the company's CEO and board. Here is a transcript of her remarks:

Good morning, Louis. You may remember me. I'm Cora - Cora Prutspin, Senior VP of Corporate Communications for Licensed to Kill, the world's first and only truthful tobacco company, online at www.licensedtokill.biz

I just had to stand up here and offer a word of praise for what your company does amidst this litany of complaints from youth and nurses and all these other folks. First off, I'd like to commend you for your poetic way with words: "refreshing and flavorful taste sensations" "legitimate industry" and my personal favorite "corporate social responsibility" - as if you're not responsible for millions of deaths. Deliciously deceiving and oh so Orwellian - almost makes my heart flutter!

Of course, when things don't go your way, it certainly helps to have top notch lawyers at your beck and call. I think I speak for all of us here in the tobacco industry in thanking you for taking the lead in challenging those pesky policies in Uruguay, Norway, Turkey and beyond that threaten the health of our industry. Got to nip such measures in the bud or they spread like cancer and kill profits!

And brilliant undercover use of the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council to facilitate meetings with Thai officials and oppose plain - aka "really not sexy" - packaging in Australia. And gotta love those new strategies to prevent people from quitting or never starting under the innocuous sounding guise of "harm reduction." We both know the greatest harm reduction would be retiring the Marlboro Man …yeah, right!

Louis, I know none of us in the industry is happy that our products kill people, but it's a fact that they do and that the more we sell, the more they kill. Every 6 seconds our industry kills another customer and needs to hook at least one replacement. The sound of a new addict? Ka-ching! 1-2-3-4-5- Ka-ching! They talk about death, but we know it's all about the dough. Ka-ching! Ka-ching! Ka-ching!

Our company believes in - we believe in giving praise where praise is due...So we'd like to give you - bestow today - our prestigious Golden Coffin Award. It says right here: for your tireless efforts to recruit replacement smokers for the 5.4 million people our industry kills each year, 1 every 6 seconds. Keep up the good work!

CEO LOUIS CAMILLERI'S RESPONSE: Thank you, Mrs white. [Hmmm, Camilleri seems to have our Senior VP confused with one of those anti-"tobacco industry health" activists] You're articulate, but your humor is frankly distasteful. Thank you.

Licensed to Kill, Inc is somewhat bewildered about PMI's less-than-enthusiastic reception of the award. Security guards prevented our Senior VP from personally handing the award to the CEO during the meeting, and to board members afterwards. On a more positive note, our Senior VP was flattered that CEO Camilleri liked her hat (not surprising he digs it, since his company's iconic cowboy was the inspiration for our signature hat!). And following the meeting, one of the board members, Stephen Wolf, made a positive comment about her "gracious" statement.

Read Cora Prutspin's follow up question

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