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.”

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

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