Friday, December 14, 2007

Playlist For Camel Cigarettes and Rolling Stone

Download: Jens Lekman - "The Opposite Of Hallelujah"
Download: The Mountain Goats - "Fault Lines"
Download: Built To Spill - "Strange"
Download: Arcade Fire - "Rebellion (Lies)"
Download: Nirvana - "Heart Shaped Box"
Download: Devendra Banhart - "This Beard Is For Siobhan"
Download: Wilco - "Jesus etc."
Download: Wolf Parade - "You Are A Runner And I Am My Father's Son"
Download: Pixies - "Here Comes Your Man"

A couple weeks back, I posted a review of Rolling Stone magazine. In the review, I noted that the issue contained a sleazy fold-out ad by Camel Cigarettes. The ad was a tour of the "Indie Rock Universe" where everyone wears black Chucks. It was designed and drawn to look like the inside of a teenager's notebook.

Stereogum then reported that not only was the ad sleazy, but it was illegal. Back in 1998, Camel (owned by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.) signed an agreement not to use cartoons to promote their products. Nine states took the "Indie Rock Universe" ads to be a violation of that and have brought suit against the company. The fine for this infraction could be as high as $100 million. Wow!

To add insult to injury, none of the bands featured in the ad were asked if they wanted their names on the ad. A full list of bands who were used in this ad and associated campaigns can be found here. The site also has a link to the original ad.

As it turns out, some of the labels whose artists were wrongfully represented by Camel are taking up arms against the cig makers. When the labels confronted the magazine, they were told that the section was an editorial, which is completely and utterly unbelievable given the spread's layout and content. Kill Rock Stars, Touch and Go and several other labels sent out an open letter to the magazine highlighting the poor taste of the ad and RS' deceptive conduct following its publication. You can view the letter here.

The labels don't want any money, just an apology. I hope they get it.

Up top is a playlist of artists who were taken advantage of by R.J. Reynolds.

(April Wright)

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