Music Linked Cigarette Sponsorship Challenged in Maryland, US

August 2004

Artists, Sponsorship, Merchandising

The Attorney General of Maryland has filed a lawsuit against the maker of Kool cigarettes, charging that the company is illegally targeting young people with a marketing campaign built around hip-hop music.The suit announced by Attorney General J. Joseph Curran asked that the marketing campaign organisers, Brown & Williamson, be fined at least $5.3 million and prohibited from continuing with its Kool Mixx 2004 promotional campaign in Maryland. Brown & Williamson defended the campaign saying that it celebrated hip-hop music and the art form of the mixers, and the DJs, who mix music. Contests are held in bars where alcohol is sold and young people are not admitted. The suit was filed in the Baltimore Circuit Court. Maryland is the second state to file suit against the Kool Mixx campaign. The New York attorney general got a preliminary order last month from that state’s Supreme Court, halting use of the Web site and a live audio webcast of DJ contests along with the recall of special cigarette packs and brand merchandise.
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