Rogers & Cowan

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

Rogers & Cowan is a public relations firm that specializes in "entertainment publication relations" using "integrated marketing campaigns for entertainment, technology, and fashion/beauty clients utilizing a blend of cross promotions, product placement, special events and web site marketing."

It has represented Hollywood celebrity clients including Jerry Bruckheimer, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Geena Davis, Eddie Murphy, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta and Bruce Willis.

Rogers & Cowan also represented the Nutritional Health Alliance, a grassroots lobbying campaign created by the manufacturers of nutritional supplements to oppose regulation of the industry by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Rogers & Cowan and tobacco

A 67-page R.J. Reynolds public relations document discusses groundwork done by Rogers & Cowan for RJR's "Social Responsibility Program." Despite its hopeful title, RJR's "Social Responsibility Program" sought to promote the social acceptability of smoking, particularly to young people. Rogers & Cowan personnel, in doing the research for this report, lied to keep secret the fact that they were working for a tobacco company:

To maintain the utmost confidentiality throughout, we identified ourselves in all contacts as either (a) freelance writers preparing materials on the smoking issue, or (b) students writing dissertations on the subject...At no time did we mention that we were researching on behalf of RJR.

Rogers & Cowan collected and analyzed information on smoking education programs being implemented by health advocacy groups and schools around the country and concluded that:

Because our informal survey has indicated what appears to be a fragmented and not fully effective anti-smoking effort in the schools and colleges, RJR should not feel relaxed about the strength of propaganda eroding its market of the future.

Other plans for RJR's "Social Responsibility Program" included creating news stories on the economic benefits of tobacco to the third world, creating a nostalgic featurette that would examine the styles of smoking in classic films like Casablanca "to illustrate the essentially American tradition of smoking," the production of a news short detailing the history of the smoking jacket, and the dissemination of helpful brochures with titles like "Ten Tips for Lovers on Smoking in Bed."[1]


  1. Rogers and Cowan Interim Report on Research for the RJR Social Responsibility Program. November, 1983 Report. 49 pp. November, 1983. Bates No. 515801212/1260

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