LANGUAGE

Philip Morris GmbH v. Land of Bavaria

Philip Morris International’s German subsidiary appealed a city authority's decision to ban the tobacco company’s “Don’t Be a Maybe - Be Marlboro" advertising campaign launched in Germany in 2011. The tobacco advertising contained six different forms of a theme - the words “Maybe” or “Be” and short phrases containing these words, coupled with images of young people engaging in daring and rebellious activities.  The administrative court upheld the ban and found that the Marlboro campaign encouraged teenagers as young as 14 years of age to smoke in violation of Germany’s tobacco advertising laws. Additionally, the administrative court found that the campaign created an unfair advantage for Philip Morris International as compared to tobacco companies that abided by the advertising regulations. In its decision, the administrative court stated “the advertising specifically targets risk-taking, rebellious youths” and found that Philip Morris International’s argument that the purpose of "Be Marlboro" advertising was to encourage adult smokers to switch to Marlboro cigarettes was not credible based on the fact that “there is already a high degree of brand loyalty in this group of persons.”