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Cigarette Makers Increase Marketing in Nightclubs and Bars


November-December 1997

With increasing bans on cigarette advertising, tobacco firms are increasing marketing in nightclubs and bars to help sell their products (Denise Gellene, "Packing them in," Los Angeles Times (Washington Edition), September 25, 1997, p. B5).

In nightclubs, cigarette companies are using marketing techniques such as "cigarette girls" who walk through the establishments, pool table lamps with company logos, and free logo-laden napkins, coasters, signs for the bars. Philip Morris uses its Marlboro Gear Game®, a computer game in which participants win hats, t-shirts, etc. Brown & Williamson sponsors "Lucky Nights" to promote its Lucky Strike® brand of cigarettes.

Some nightclubs have signed exclusive deals with tobacco companies in exchange for compensation and paid advertising for the clubs in local periodicals. "A lot more money has started flooding into the clubs," said Howard Chapnick, owner of the Dragonfly in Hollywood.

"You are going to see [tobacco companies] try to saturate every available adult-only venue as fast as they can," said Ken Harris, a consultant with Cannondale Associates in Chicago, adding, "Since bars and nightclubs are restricted to adults, tobacco companies view them as safe havens."