WTO LOBBYING EFFORTS IN CANCUN
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
LICENSED TO KILL LOBBIES WTO
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,
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.
member of the Mexican organizing committee then arrived and
informed us that they would prefer us to display our literature
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,
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.
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
MEDIA HUNGRY FOR LICENSED TO
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,
to Kill speaking to an African media representative
come the WTO is letting you walk around here so openly?"
Newsday reporter asked. "Oh, that's right -- you're a
corporation," she answered.
American media capturing the company's lobbying efforts
to Kill does a television interview with Univision
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?
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!"
NGO RESPONSE MIXED
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.
seemed less amused by our "Tobacco Over Health" message.
PHOTOS FOR STOCKHOLDERS
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...
Million Deaths - Who Cares?"
$, Less Health!"
over Health!": 1,
"We love U WTO!": 1,
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.
AND FINALLY, SOME PHOTOS OF
WHAT WE'RE UP AGAINST...
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,
few days later we passed by the latter and noticed that some crazy
have defaced it. In our view, such hooligans need to "get
These photos and more are all online at:
In the name of profit,
Senior VP of Corporate Communications
Licensed to Kill, Inc
Our motto: We're Rich, You're Dead!