The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Wanted. Liars With Straight Faces …

The industry likes to talk a lot about purpose.
The supposedly unwavering commitment to its higher purpose, even if it only turns up in marketing.

It likes to talk about agility.

The ability for a company to change focus to maximise opportunities even, if often it’s done to hide a lack of strategy.

And let’s not forget pivoting.

The ability to shift from one area of expertise to another, even if the reality is its because you need to survive rather than you are forward thinking.

Now of course, there are some companies who have purpose, agility and an ability to pivot without using it as an excuse to hide their shortcomings. Companies who have embodied and expressed all these traits, often before it became another marketing or business buzzword.

Or – in the case of pivoting – there are some companies who openly admit why they did it. That if they didn’t, they wouldn’t exist any longer. Netflix for example.

But there’s some organisations who see the writing on the wall, but ‘pivot’ to such an extent that they literally show themselves for the lying, cheating, manipulative organization they have always been.

The best example of this I’ve possibly ever seen is cancer champion – Philip Morris.

You see the tobacco company has decided that their core cash cow doesn’t have the same profitable future as it once did so have decided – to loud fanfare – to pivot.

“What to?” I hear you ask?

Hold on to your hats, because it’s a Health and Wellness company.


No, that’s not a joke … well, it is, but they don’t mean it to be.

Yep, Phillip Morris – owners of brands including Marlboro are supposedly pivoting to a health and wellness company.

It’s the equivalent of the Trump Organisation becoming an international aid charity.

Or kids TV show, Playschool pivoting to a rival of Pornhub.

How can they say this with a straight face?

They’re even lobbying for a ban on cigarettes within 10 years.

This is worse than poacher turned keeper.

This is an attempt for death to turn doctor … conveniently ignoring all the shameful acts they undertook – and still undertake – to keep their tobacco business killing its customers.

Look I get they have to continue making money.

I get a lot of ‘health and wellness’ companies are as questionable as a cigarette company.

But come on …

Apart from their bullshit being utterly transparent and sickening … what about all the scientists and doctors they paid off, bullied and sued to keep their kill sticks in market.

Do they think they’re just going to nod and think, “hey, we won?”

Will there be a follow up to the Michael Mann movie, The Insider … where Russell Crowe spends 2 hours saying, “I was wrong, Philip Morris are lovely guys really and I forgive them for trying to crush and threaten my life.”

And that’s before we get to the scientists and doctors who work for Philip Morris who must be wondering how a company committed to tobacco can just expect them to change their focus to fixing the illnesses they helped cause in the first place.

But do you know what the sickest part of it all is?

The markets won’t care.

They won’t cast doubt or suspicion.

As long as they make money they will support them.

They’ll call them a poster child for ‘purpose’ and ‘wellbeing’.

It will see the CEO, Jacek Olczak, celebrated and revered by the business press.

It will see him earn millions from bonuses, consultancy and speaker engagements.

We’ll watch holding company CEO’s jostle for position.

We’ll see even more agencies pitching for their business.

We’ll read fawning editorial about their shift in industry magazines.

We’ll hear strategists talk about them as proof of the power of pivoting.

And it will make me hate even more people for the willingness to support hypocrisy for profit.

Philip Morris. You can say you are a health and wellness company, but we all know the only health and wellness you have ever cared about is your own bank balance.

18 Comments so far
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you dont often nail something campbell.
and ive seen how fucking shit you are at diy
but you nailed the fawning shit adland will do to get some crumbs from wanking over their shadow. the whole of the fucking business world are a bunch of fucking gorging pigs.

Comment by andy@cynic

I think you summed up what I think of a lot of people in the business world right now. You should read Hype, by Gabrielle Bluestone. It will make you want to explode.

What I find interesting is that Rock Stars have far more integrity, decency and smarts than a massive amount of business people. And politicians. And yet they’re the ones people think are wild and crazy. We have totally got our viewpoints mixed up.

Comment by Rob

their moves are more transparent than a fucking hollywood wannabe in a fucking greenhouse.

Comment by andy@cynic

Philip Morris are the definition of evil. This move just secures their hold on that title. Well said Robert. Every word of it.

Comment by George

The Insider was a great movie. Wonder what Jeffery Wigand thinks of this move?

Comment by Bazza

It was great, I’m going to watch it again … and all through it, I’ll be thinking how the people who tried to destroy him are now trying to reposition themselves as activists for humanity.

Comment by Rob

Congratulations Campbell. Only taken you 15 years to write a post I almost like.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Well this blog won’t be around for 15 more years – especially now I’ve achieved the ultimate goal. Hahaha

Comment by Rob

I have always believed that the more confident you try to come across, the more you are trying to hide. The way the CEO of PM is acting isn’t changing my opinion.

Comment by Pete

Well, that’s especially true when the confidence conveniently ignores all the terrible and dangerous things they have profited on for years.

Comment by Rob

My jr art director ears tingled with the whispers in the echoing halls of the leo burnett building… don’t talk shit on philip morris… they do take up two floors and pay most of our salaries after all… even if we pretend at cannes that we’ve never heard of them… Scummy ad business at it’s worst, taking the idyllic shine off my adschool eyes posthaste.

Comment by Brad

owned. fucking literally.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m here for the Andy C commentary and wasn’t disappointed. So, yeah PM own a significant stake in Juul and to this day I am still waiting to see the brand purpose deck on selling nicotine to kids!

Comment by David

Don’t encourage him please David. Hahaha.

The only thing I admire about the tobacco companies is their ingenious ways to market. Juul is one … but so is the way that they invested in the TV show, The West Wing, and made sure the President smoked cigarettes but the Vice President smoked cigars.

It’s a game to them, and I feel that’s how we should respond to it but instead we play into their hands. It’s tragic.

Comment by Rob

On what fucking planet do they live?
Desperate financial moves dressed up as purpose, just like their supposed ‘change lab’ that allows them to still sponsor Ferrari and Ducati.

Bunch of absolute cunts all of them.

Comment by Rob (The other one)

That’s some next level BS. Just been researching the oil companies’ pivot to “energy solution’ companies (100 companies cause 71% of the warming) and checked out Phillip Morris (or PMI as they like to call themselves now) and it was sickening – they even have doctors shilling for them. The damn moral rot in the system.

Comment by Theo Erasmus

Yep … it’s tragic and horrible.

Which is how you will feel when you realise you’ve commented on my blog. Ha.

Comment by Rob

To be fair – PMI has you beat by a country mile in the horrible stakes.
(Thanks for tackling this important issue – it makes me furious.)

Comment by Theo Erasmus

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