|Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill
Mr. Barron: I would like to try to answer the points that the hon. Member for South Dorset has just made about the dictionary definition of sponsorship. First, both he and the hon. Member for Meriden have said on this clause, as on many others, that there is a loophole. The hon. Member for South Dorset said that there was a complication that the Government did not perhaps intend. Given that the Conservatives declined to give the Bill a Second Reading, they should be quite happy with the Bill as presently constructed, because it would be ineffective if we believed what they say.
On sponsorship, does my hon. Friend the Minister agree that the Bill is intended to stop sponsorship that relates to tobacco products? I would like turn to Silk Cut. The hon. Member for South Dorset said that there are no names on Silk Cut advertisements, just a large silk cloth on a stage, with a tear in it, and that we all know what that means. Let me refer again to the appendices in the Health Committee report on defining sponsorship of tobacco products. The report considered the links between sponsorship and advertising. As I said earlier, those links can become very blurred when we look around the issue. It is very difficult to define that in a Bill without making it a one-clause Bill that says, ``X promotes, advertises or sponsors tobacco products directly or indirectly''. Definition is very difficult.
Let me turn to how sponsorship is designed to direct the attitudes of young people, perhaps not necessarily toward a single product, but towards a brand of tobacco products. Some evidence in the Select Committee report was submitted by a company called M & C Saatchi, with which I think most of us are familiar. It related to what Silk Cut did in night clubs in the UKthe Leadmill in Sheffield was one such venuea few years ago, and to what was being done in universities up and down the UK. The evidence relates to what I think was called the Silk Cut renaissance tour, and I want to quote from a brief published on 7 May 1996 on the sponsorship of those events. It said:
Young people, by their nature, are not easily taken for a ride. They do not easily latch on to things. The hon. Member for South Dorset mentioned billposter sites that do not even tell one what brand they refer to; but an image is shown, and an inquiring mind can work out what it is. Inquiring minds are likely to be younger rather than older.
Let me quote further from M & C Saatchi's evidence:
The hon. Member for South Dorset talked about his windjammeror whatever it was.
Mr. Bruce: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Mr. Barron: No. I will finish what I am saying and then the hon. Gentleman can get to his feet. Silk Cut sponsored a boat for the Whitbread yacht race, which had a Silk Cut emblem on it, and I can quote from a document that advertisers used, which states:
Let me turn to the Saatchi brief of 1996, which came to light during the investigations. It was headed ``Why we are advertising'' and said:
Mr. Bruce: The hon. Gentleman quotes some of the things that I said, but he has completely missed the point. I told the Committee that the voluntary agreement that Silk Cut had was in my view easier to police, because the company was policing itself.. Under the voluntary agreement, it was easier to keep that brand name off the television screens and to ensure that Silk Cut jackets were not available to the television cameras either.
I do not dispute the fact that sponsorship by tobacco companies is intended to promote cigarettes. If the hon. Gentleman had listened carefully to my previous speech, he would know that we were trying to achieve exactly the same type of prohibitions on advertising as on sponsorship. We should not get involved in a confusing discussion about the difference between the two, which again provides enormous loopholes.
Mr. Barron: I did not want to misunderstand the hon. Gentleman. I think that I know what he is saying now. Silk Cut was probably much better at screening as regards sponsorship and the national media than other companies have been.
I take the hon. Gentleman back to the first sitting, when he said:
My final point is also about the connection between sponsorship and advertising and/or promotion. When the Health Committee took evidence last year on the tobacco industry and the health risks of smoking, the advertising agency CDPwhich is one of the top five advertisers in the countrysubmitted a memo dated 20 January 1998 from Barry Jenner to Rupert Pyrah. It talked about what had happened the night before, when Formula 1 racing cars had appeared on the news because a new racing car was being promoted. The small faxed memo says:
As I'm sure you are aware there was excellent coverage of the new Jordan car last night on both the Nine O'Clock News and the News at Ten. The respective All Men TVRs
Not bad to start off with!''
The growth in tobacco sponsorship in Britain, particularly in sports, took off when we decided, many years ago, to stop advertising cigarettes on national television channels. Sport became the recipient of that sponsorship, whether it was a case of Benson and Hedges cricket or Formula 1 racing. That was another way of getting tobacco promoted in our national media. The Wilson Government, which came to office in 1964, introduced a voluntary code, but it soon became clear that people were getting round it. Companies decided that they had to accept the ban on television advertising, but looked for ways round it, as the hon. Member for South Dorset said at our first sitting. It is in the nature of tobacco companies to do whatever they can to keep their products in our minds.
|©Parliamentary copyright 2001||Prepared 6 January 2001|