Examination of Witnesses (Questions 693
THURSDAY 20 JANUARY 2000
MR M MACLENNAN,
MR C MACLEOD,
MR N MUSTOE
693 Good morning. May I thank you for your attendance
today? You have had a taste of the direction of our questions
with being here already. May I ask you each to introduce yourselves
briefly to the Committee.
Paul Bainsfair. I am Chairman of TBWA GGT Simons
I am Nick Mustoe, I am the Chief Executive of
Mustoe Merriman Herring & Levy.
I am Chris McLeod, Chief Executive of CDP.
I am Moray MacLennan, Joint Chief Executive
of M&C Saatchi.
694 May I begin by expressing our thanks for
the efforts you have made to give us some very detailed evidence?
I know there has been a very short timescale to turn this round
but it has been helpful and I am sure my colleagues would share
my wish to express our appreciation for your cooperation. May
I begin by asking a general question? Obviously we are a Health
Committee and the motivation for our present inquiry is health.
Do you in the work you do take any account of the health implications
(Mr MacLennan) We do to the extent that
it is heavily regulated by the ASA code, which I am sure you are
familiar with. That is a document which everyone in the country
knows and I am sure you are aware of it and it is extremely tight.
It says what you can do and what you cannot do and I guess that
it is drafted because of the health risk associated with smoking.
Really that is the document we adhere to when developing any communications
on behalf of Gallaher.
695 Without that guidance you would presumably
not take account of the health risk at all.
(Mr MacLennan) We are briefed by a client
to do a certain job; that is the way we operate. They have some
products and they want us to communicate something about those
products and we will do so within the code. There is a general
advertising code as well as a tobacco code and we stick within
696 Would health issues be of any relevance in
the advice which you may give to your clients?
(Mr MacLennan) In terms of the nature
of the communication?
(Mr MacLennan) In the context of the
code I do not think that it would because there are so few things
one can actually say in advertising that it never actually comes
up as an issue.
698 Would you all subscribe to those answers?
(Mr Mustoe) Yes, very heavily regulated,
very little chance to do anything anyway. If it were not heavily
regulated it would be pure speculation as to whether one would
then have advice in that area, but as it is regulated there is
699 May I specifically ask you about the higher
smoking rates in low income groups? What creative and media buying
strategies do you use to target these low income groups? It is
very apparent to us as Members of Parliament that smoking is more
common among lower income families, the incidence of ill health
arising from smoking is more common. We are particularly interested
in the way that you clearly do offer strategies on behalf of your
clients which relate to these groups. Could you tell us a little
bit about it?
(Mr MacLennan) Within any marketplace
you have different brands. I am sure this will be central to this
debate, but what we are charged with is switching brands and different
brands appeal to different sectors of the community, that is true
in any marketplace. Some people prefer different things and they
prefer it for a variety of reasons, some to do with the nature
of the product, some to do with price and for some is to do with
the general image of that product. When a product is developed,
more often than not if it is a lower priced cigarette it is more
appealing to lower socio-economic groups, then it will be targeted
against them in mass market titles and that is the way it works.