LANGUAGE

State of Illinois v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al.

In 1998, litigation brought by several states against various tobacco manufacturers was resolved by a master settlement agreement (MSA), which, in part, prohibited the use of cartoons in product promotions.  In 2007, a state government sought to enforce this provision of the MSA by filing contempt charges against a tobacco-manufacturer party to the MSA that was responsible for a "Camel Farm" music-themed promotional campaign, including a magazine advertisement containing editorial content created by the magazine that featured several illustrations.  The Court held that the magazine advertisement violated the MSA, finding that the images depicted unnatural abilities, underwent transformations, and were designed to appeal to youth.  However, the Court held that the video and website did not violate the MSA as the images portrayed lacked "comically exaggerated features."  Finally, the Court held that the editorial illustrations did not constitute a breach of the MSA as the tobacco manufacturer was not bound by a duty to prevent the use of cartoons by a third party.