Philip Morris plan to create "pleasure revenge" news

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

This memo to Ellen Merlo, Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Philip Morris, reveals efforts by PM to undermine public health messages about smoking by using third parties and its considerable financial might to disseminate messages that promote smoking. This internal Philip Morris (PM) memo discusses PM's plans to team up with new-age "trend guru" Faith Popcorn to promote her claim that the public was "fed up with self-deprivation in the name of health." PM media specialist Karen Daragan's goal was to "broaden the reach of 'pleasure revenge' news and publicize the new trend of indulgence and anti-politically correct behavior that Faith Popcorn has noticed and recently discussed in the press."

Faith Popcorn claims to have predicted such things as casual Fridays and widespread shopping on the Internet. Her web site,, explains that her real name is Faith Plotkin, and that the media started calling her Faith Popcorn after she lied to a Fortune magazine reporter when he asked her about the origin of her unusual name during an interview in the 1970s.

Karen Daragan of Philip Morris planned to create a video news release (VNR) about a public trend of "pleasure revenge" to amplify coverage of Popcorn's claims that people were "fed up with self-deprivation in the name of health." Daragan crafted the soundbite to be used in the VNR:

"Potential soundbite: 'People are fed up with self-deprivation in the name of health and politically correct behavior; we're sick of being perfect. In a decade marked predominantly by fear and cutting back...we want to cut loose again. That's why more people are smoking and drinking socially and just plain enjoying themselves.' "[1][2]

Video news releases are pre-recorded "news stories" that corporations make and shop around to television networks. The corporations try and get TV news programs to broadcast the VNR as though it was a real news story, without identifying the origin of its funding origin or its true PR purpose. Since VNRs are pre-made, it's very easy for news programs to run them, so corporations often succeed.

Additional documents regarding "pleasure revenge" news

Sourcewatch resources

External resources

<tdo>search_term="pleasure revenge"</tdo>


  1. Karen Daragan, Philip Morris Faith Popcorn Memorandum. January 11, 1993. 3 pp. Bates No.
  2. HarperCollins Author description: Faith Popcorn, accessed September 4, 2009