We're Rich, You're Dead!


September 2003

Last week, thousands of trade negotiators from around the world came to Cancun, Mexico for the 5th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Philip Morris was there, and so was Licensed to Kill, Inc!

While the trade negotiations ultimately collapsed, Licensed to Kill made the most of the opportunity to lobby WTO delegates face-to-face to protect the tobacco industry from public health advocates. Our message: More Trade, Less Health!

Below, please find links to photos of our lobbying efforts and press


Licensed to Kill's Senior VP of Corporate Communications, Corrie Prutspin, began the company's lobbying efforts by setting up shop at the WTO Convention Center. Our booth included sample Licensed to Kill cigarette packs, the company's latest press release in favor of "More Trade, Less Health!", and promotional flyers featuring the company's website and logo. Photos of the booth: 1, 2, 3

A security person soon showed up and asked what we were doing. We explained what our company is about and assured him that we were not protesting -- that our company wholeheartedly supports the WTO's objectives of liberalizing worldwide trade, even at the expense of public health.

A member of the Mexican organizing committee then arrived and informed us that they would prefer us to display our literature in the
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Center. When we clarified that Licensed to Kill is a corporation, not an NGO, we were informed that the WTO classifies corporations as NGOs. She then invited us to tape an interview with WTO television -- a great way, she said, to get our message across to WTO delegates.

But as our company was more interested in face-to-face lobbying, we
opted to go downstairs to the main floor of the WTO convention center. Filled with a sea of WTO delegates and journalists, it was an ideal place to get our message of "More Trade, Less Health!" across.

We walked back and forth along the main thoroughfare, handing out our press releases to WTO delegates and engaging them in conversation about the importance of continuing to prioritize trade over health. Photos: 1, 2

We ran into a delegate from Canada, who told us he was very close to the Canadian trade minister. "You're from Canada? Boy, does our company need to talk to you! What's up with all the anti-tobacco industry legislation you've been passing recently? It's because of countries like yours that companies like ours are forced to market all the more aggressively in low-income countries," we scolded, "Perhaps you can pass on a few words to the trade minister?" The delegate agreed, so we suggested that his government reconsider a ban on tobacco industry sponsorship of Formula One -- as our company plans to sponsor an F1 team in the near future, in an effort to boost appeal for our "Global Massacre" cigarette brand among youth worldwide.

We then entered into a philosophical discussion with a delegate from Europe who took issue with our company's interest in targeting children. "Adults, okay," he said, "but there should be some limits on marketing to kids." Whatever?! We've never understood the "children are sacred, but adults are not" point of view (though our competitors have certainly used it to their advantage). Our company views all life, young and old, the same: as profit-delivery systems. Kids are merely future adults, so why not start branding them early? It's called "cradle to grave" marketing!

In the restaurant area, we came upon a table of delegates for the United Arab Emirates. "It is a pleasure to meet you," we gushed, "We are very interested in expanding our sales in the Middle East, especially among women -- as we hear that smoking rates are exceedingly low among them." The delegates shook their heads in disapproval. "But why not? As we understand it, the Koran forbids alcohol, but not tobacco," we countered, conveniently failing to acknowledge that many Muslim scholars do consider tobacco use "haram".

Soon after, we happened upon a table of delegates from Gabon to whom we stated our position that "le commerce est beaucoup plus important que la sante." We were a bit taken aback when they vigorously disagreed.

Later we went to the Convention Center entrance and lobbied delegates as they arrived and exited. We were pleased to run into a delegate from Uganda, one of the countries in which Licensed to Kill is particularly interested in expanding its sales.

WTO Delegates were later overheard in the restroom reading our press release and saying that the company was "really going over the top." Funny how the truth rubs people the wrong way sometimes.


Our lobbying efforts quickly drew the attention of the media, who were hungry to photograph us and hear what we had to say. Apparently most tobacco companies are much less conspicuous in their efforts to exert influence over countries' negotiating positions. We conducted dozens of interviews for television, radio, and print media. Here are a few photos:

Licensed to Kill conducting radio interviews: 1, 2

Licensed to Kill speaking to an African media representative

"How come the WTO is letting you walk around here so openly?" this
Newsday reporter
asked. "Oh, that's right -- you're a corporation," she answered.

Latin American media capturing the company's lobbying efforts

Licensed to Kill does a television interview with Univision

One journalist told us that he had run into some Philip Morris lobbyists the evening before, but they had refused to answer any questions. Hmmm, do they have something to hide?

And an Egyptian media representative lamented that he was a smoker. "Au contraire, the world needs more, not less, smokers," we told him, "you just need to switch to one of our brands!"


Many NGO representatives found us amusing and were more than happy to accept our literature. Guess they had never encountered a company that tells the truth before.

Others seemed less amused by our "Tobacco Over Health" message.


Our company knows that our stockholders like to be kept regularly informed of the company's worldwide activities -- to assure that we are keeping their interests (higher and higher stock value) at heart. Here are some corporate portraits taken of our lobbying efforts in front of the WTO Convention Center. Our stockholders can rest assured that we never fail to put their financial well-being over the lungs and lives of millions worldwide...

"5 Million Deaths - Who Cares?"

"More $, Less Health!"

"Trade over Health!": 1, 2

"We love U WTO!": 1, 2

NOTE OF THANKS: To our delight, the WTO Convention Center was one big smokefest. Some WTO delegates apologized for smoking around us, but we told them to keep on puffing away -- after all, the more they smoke, the richer we get! Our company's found it highly lucrative to maintain smokers' "freedom to poison the air." We would like to take this opportunity to thank the WTO for its poison-friendly conference venue policies.


Licensed to Kill's competition, aka Philip Morris, is alive and well in Cancun. The majority of small billboards lining the streets of downtown Cancun have Marlboro advertisement on them: 1, 2, 3

A few days later we passed by the latter and noticed that some crazy kid must have defaced it. In our view, such hooligans need to "get a job"!

These photos and more are all online at:

In the name of profit,
Corrie Prutspin
Senior VP of Corporate Communications
Licensed to Kill, Inc
Our motto: We're Rich, You're Dead!™

© 2003 Licensed to Kill, Inc
Website disclaimer: Licensed to Kill, Inc stands by the veracity, but not the morality
of the contents of www.licensedtokill.biz, as well as the behavior of our company and its public statements.