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Artists protest loss of funding from tobacco companies

The Story

Ten million dollars a year goes a long way in the arts community. But, starting in 1989, Canadian arts organizations - in music, ballet and television - will have to start drumming up new sources of cash. A new advertising ban means Canada's big three tobacco companies can no longer sponsor arts groups or sporting events. In this clip from CBC Radio, members of the arts community, including famed ballerina Evelyn Hart, meet to lobby the government to replace their funding. Health Minister Jake Epp says there's a loophole the tobacco companies are free to exploit if they want to keep giving to the arts. Rather than using cigarette brand names in their sponsorship deals, they can use their corporate names. But a Rothmans spokesperson rejects the idea, saying it doesn't fit with their way of doing business. "Brand sponsorship is a marketing tool as much as direct mail, [or] an ad in a magazine," she says. A court challenge is underway.

Medium: Radio
Program: Sunday Morning
Broadcast Date: Sept. 4, 1988
Guest(s): Evelyn Hart, Flora MacDonald, Bill Neville, Cynthia von Maerestetten
Host: Linden MacIntyre
Reporter: Dave Stevens
Duration: 7:19
Credit: DuMaurier Search for the Stars
Theme: Bob McMullin
Photo: Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press - Canadian Press.

Did You know?

• After the new tobacco laws came into force, the tobacco industry managed to avoid sponsorship restrictions by creating "shell" companies – corporations that sold no products, but existed only to sponsor events. These companies bore the names of popular cigarette brands such as Player's, Inc. and duMaurier, Inc.


• By 1991 the tobacco industry was spending $40 million annually on tobacco sponsorships. In 1995, just one company (of three in Canada) spent that much.

• Besides being a good source of funds for arts and sports groups, tobacco sponsorships were prized by cigarette makers because of the cachet it gave their brands. According to Maclean's magazine (April 10, 1989), Imperial Tobacco valued a golf tournament it sponsored "because that helps to instil confidence in a brand and spurs positive associations in smokers' minds with a so-called upscale event."

• Different brands of cigarettes were matched with different types of events. Player's, which targeted young males, went with auto-racing; Matinée, a brand aimed at young women, sponsored a foundation for fashion designers; Craven "A", apparently aimed at country-music fans, sponsored country music events.


• DuMaurier, a brand that aimed to portray an upscale image, sponsored performing-arts groups, golf, and tennis events.

• Despite the gloomy outlook for arts groups and others depending on tobacco sponsorships, few events actually ceased to exist once sponsorships were virtually outlawed for good in 2003.


• For example, many of the country's jazz festivals merged forces to attract a new sponsor: a bank. Montreal's Grand Prix auto race continued in 2005, though the city's mayor said he would probably have to fight to keep it there in future years.




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