ThankYou for Smoking does a great job showing the role of lobbying, bribery, unethicalmarketing and government interference in business.
Lobbying plays a huge impact on theregulations and laws that are passed for variety of categories. Though about the cigarette industry, themessage of this movie generalizes with so many industries. This film also doesa great job presenting how business, media and the government interact to influencethe choices consumers make. Lobbyingskills are essential for a businessman to have. These skills can be defined aspersuasion, negotiation and being diplomatic and respectable in what one saysand how he presents it. Though lobbying, like bribery and unethical marketing,can be put as shrewd tactics, they are essential to promote a company orindustry and its product. At times, companies will also go to extreme extentsto obtain publicity, like leveraging on the kidnapping in the film.
In thefilm, Naylor gets kidnapped by extremist who cover him in nicotine patches andnearly kill him. When he wakes up in the hospital the doctor tells him that cigarettessaved his life, because no nonsmoker would be able to live with that muchnicotine in their bodies. He later spins this statement and uses it as apositive thing when interviewed by the media. The company uses the kidnappingas good publicity and an attempt to gain sympathy.
This is a perfect example ofhow often public figures and the press attempt to use events, good or bad, in theiradvantage to gain sympathy and support for their cause. This is a very commonpractice in both business and politics. Thefilm depicts the very real idea of bribery in business. Nick Naylor, the lobbyistfor the tobacco company, pays a visit to the old Marlboro Man, who is dyingfrom lung cancer. Naylor brings a brief case full of money to bribe the sickman to stay quiet about the health problems tobacco has caused him. Naylor useshis negotiation skills to convince the man to keep all the cash. This scenedoes a fantastic job bringing up the unethical use of bribery in the businessworld. Bribery may be unethical; however, it is a tactic used in the businessworld to safeguard their stance over competitors.
Thefilm also briefly touches base on the nature of unethical marketing to childrenand other audiences. In an attempt tomake it seem like Naylor doesn’t want kids and teens smoking he says that he doesn’twant the teenager with lung cancer to die, because then they lose a customer. Cigarettepackaging is aimed at teens with the bright colors and design. That iswhy Senator Ortolan Finistirre wants to make it mandatory that all the packageshave skull and crossbones on them to indicate that the substances within arepoisonous.
Towards the end of the movie, in front of congress, Naylor statesthat most people know that cigarettes can be dangerous, and the Senator rebuttal’sthat the skull and cross bones will be on the package for those who don’t, likechildren. The notion that the tobaccocompanies are marketing to children definitely touches on the idea of unethicalmarketing. I believe that it is unethical to exploit the fact that children donot understand that the substances within are harmful and that teenagers at ayoung age simply do not care and become addicted, so that by the time they dostart to care about their health, they cannot stop smoking. Going along withthe use of marketing in the cigarette industry, Naylor knows that smoking isn’tseen publicly as it used to be and convinces his boss that cigarette smokingneeds to been seen as cool again, and the way to do that is to incorporate themback into Hollywood movies.
Movies use to portray smoking as luxurious and glamorous;this suggests such marketing tactics as product placement in films. Asmentioned above, the tobacco company was also faced with the problem ofgovernmental interference. The senator wants the symbol for poison on everypack of cigarettes to help inform the public about the harmful effects ofsmoking. For a long time, tobacco companies would ignore the effects of smokingand claim that there was no scientific evidence proving the dangers.
When Naylortestified in front of congress he agreed that cigarettes are harmful however,said that the people should have a right to choose without government interference.I agree with Naylor, I don’t think the government should be able to interferewith personal choices especially if the dangers are clearly knowledgeable. Governmentinterference presents itself in many industries, such as the three presented inthe film: alcohol, guns, and tobacco.