Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


1980 Lois Lane lights up

SupermanPhilip Morris pioneers another form of brainwashing, this one involving subliminal advertising.

For a reported payment of $42,000, the company purchases 22 exposures of the Marlboro logo in the 1980 movie Superman II, which is aimed largely at the youth market.

Lois Lane, a newspaper reporter and role model for teenage girls, has a Marlboro pack on her desk and is shown puffing merrily away. At one point in the film, a character is tossed into a van with a large Marlboro sign on its side, and in the climactic scene the superhero battles foes amid a maze of Marlboro billboards before zooming off in triumph, leaving in his wake a solitary taxi with a Marloro sign on top.

1980s You’ve gone the wrong way, baby!

Philip Morris’ colorful ads at sporting events evade the TV broadcasting ban and purchase easy access to young people without appearing to target them. ABC’s sports program director, Lydia Stephans, says of Philip Morris’ access to millions of potential customers through its sponsorship of the televised Virginia Slims tennis circuit, “I think it’s clever. They’ve found a loophole.”

Philip Morris also prances so gracefully through the visual and performing arts that the Wall Street Journal anoints it “the art world’s favorite company.” Philip Morris Chairman George Weissman remarks, “We hope people will come away with favorable impressions of the companythat we are cultured human beings like everyone else, not a bunch of barbarians.”

Philip Morris selects groups in dire need of financial support who can’t afford to be fussy about their benefactors. “To tell you the truth, I’m not that interested,” Alison Dineen, of the Women’s Research and Educational Institute, responds when asked if she suffers any qualms about accepting tobacco money. Notes Caren Brooks Hopkins, of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, a prime recipient of Philip Morris largesse, “There are so many people who do absolutely nothing for the arts. Let’s go after them.”

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate