Memo Pad: Calvin's Spring Look... Junking the Times...

As media agencies and analysts predicted, the first quarter of 2009 proved to be a bloody one for magazines.

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LIGHTING A FIRE: A few years ago, Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-Calif.) wrote letters to the editors of fashion magazines to discourage them from running Camel No. 9 ads, which allegedly were targeting young women and enticing them to smoke. Capps’ campaign against Camel No. 9 contributed to R.J. Reynolds’ decision to issue a moratorium on advertising the cigarette brand in print magazines in 2008.


On Friday, Capps and 25 of her colleagues began a new fight against tobacco advertising, but this time the target is Philip Morris’ new marketing campaign for Virginia Slims cigarettes, called Superslims Lights and Superslims Lights Menthol. In a letter that was mailed to the publishers of Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, In Style, Interview, Lucky, Marie Claire, Us Weekly and W, members of Congress said the Virginia Slims cigarettes have pink packaging, which comes across as “cute and feminine.” “Their name and appearance play on our society’s value of and pressure for women to be slim.” Capps added, “We hope the publishers of these magazines will realize the hypocrisy of running ads encouraging a lethal habit juxtaposed with fashion tips and important health advice.  According to the articles in their own magazines, they know full well that smoking is an addictive and ultimately deadly habit.” Capps and her colleagues are asking the titles to adopt an institutional policy of rejecting cigarette advertising aimed at young women. The publishers had not received the letters Friday and could not comment.
— A.W.


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