Philip Morris Faces Mockery for Its New ‘Mission Impossible’ Anti-Smoking Campaign

By Patrick Coffee 

In case you missed it (and you can definitely be forgiven if you did), Philip Morris had a yacht at this year’s Cannes Lions Festival.

What ever might they have been doing there, you ask? Well, the Washington Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder also had a big boat in the riviera, so stranger things have happened.

Anyway, it was all about vaping.


Yes, the world’s largest tobacco company is pivoting to the vape. They hosted a Cannes event that outlined their efforts to enlist the creative, media and PR industries for a little help in preventing young people from smoking and convince longtime smokers to switch to vaping instead.

Now they’ve released a campaign to make this position clearer, and public response (at least in the U.K.) has been… not so hot. Here’s “Hold My Light.”

Well that spot did remind us that the Mission Impossible movies are still somehow good.

Cancer charities, however, are calling it “staggering hypocrisy” and positioning the new effort as a way for the company to circumvent U.K. laws that now prevent the direct promotion of combustible tobacco products in order to hawk its vape alternatives instead.

According to a story today in The Independent, Philip Morris went so far as to offer “cigarette alternatives” to National Health Service (NHS) staff in order to help them quit.

A spokesperson for Action on Smoking and Health even called the ad “PR puff.”

U.K. tobacco marketing laws are stricter than those in the States, but maybe Philip Morris should ask The Annex how it’s done.