Philip Morris Doesn't Want Your Help Selling Ciggies
Last week students Jennine Punzone and Manasvi Abrol of Miami Ad School Brooklyn incurred the wrath (well ... not really) of no less than Philip Morris, having used a class assignment to propose an app called Bump a Smoke.
If you're a social smoker, or just somebody who comes up a stick short once or twice too often a week, the idea is brilliant. The hypothetical app lets you buy virtual smokes, which you can then exchange for real ones.
What irked Philip Morris was the unauthorised use of its Marlboro brand in the app mockup, and AgencySpy, which has covered the project in past, received the following letter from one Bill Phelps of Altria Client Services:
Kiran: The "Bump a Smoke" concept you posted this morning is in no way related to Philip Morris USA or the Marlboro brand. The company does not approve of this use of its trademark. Could you please update your post to clarify this or remove the image? Thanks.
The request is actually not that unreasonable, but Punzone and Abrol are turning the situation to their advantage -- at PM's expense -- with a blog called We Are Sorry Philip Morris.
It's less of a blog, really, than a page describing the entire situation, which strikes us as the kind of thing that is only a big deal if you're still a student. (Sorry, but we fail to feel the conviction -- no subpoena? No cease and desist?!! Get oooout.)
The general gist:
We're sorry for devising an application that, if real, would help you sell more of your product. Although it's ironic that you vehemently oppose our work considering you would profit greatly from its existence.
Most of all, we regret overlooking the fact that your product doesn't need any promotion, as it's highly addictive.
Also, try to look at the positive side; at least we didn't pursue our other concepts:
- The search for America's Loudest Wheezer.
- Record your wheeze- Share it on Facebook, Twitter or save it as a ringtone.
- Bump A Lung - A lung donation program by Philip Morris.
Finally, we wanted to thank you. We are advertising students at Miami Ad School and your critique of our work has put it in front of many prospective employers.
Credit to them for rapier wit and the ability to see the silver lining. And thus ends another meta-drama, brought to us by So Particular.