CARTOON TROUBLE: During the past year, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. has taken several hits in the media and on Capitol Hill over its print ads and now it's facing legal trouble. Eight states, from California to New York, are filing lawsuits regarding the Camel Farm advertisement that ran adjacent to an independent rock music section in the Nov. 15 issue of Rolling Stone. The section opened with a full-page ad illustration of a woman above a banner reading "Welcome to the Farm," advertising RJR's Camel cigarettes. After the section's cover, there is then a two-page ad featuring a camel in silhouette with the words, "The Farm: Free Range Music" and the headline, "Committed to Supporting and Promoting Independent Record Labels." The editorial in the section follows, made up of cartoon images and graphics.
In a statement Tuesday, Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann asked a judge to hold RJR in contempt, and issue a fine of more than $5 million for violating the Master Settlement Agreement, which prohibits the use of cartoons in ads to promote tobacco products. Similar language was used by other attorneys general in the case. A spokesman for RJR reiterated the company would not have chosen to advertise in the Nov. 15 issue if it knew of cartoonlike graphics prepared by Rolling Stone.