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Olympics offensive – Networks had nixed spot

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A controversial anti-smoking ad previously rejected by all four major networks is being aired on NBC during the Summer Olympics, the Associated Press reported Sept. 19.

The American Legacy Foundation will spend $15 million on the ad during the Olympics’ three-week telecast on NBC as part of the largest anti-smoking campaign in history.

All told, the anti-smoking group will spend an estimated $150 million a year on ads alone. The foundation was created and financed by the tobacco industry’s $206 billion settlement with 46 states over the cost of treating sick smokers.

Currently, the organization has committed $15 million to buy airtime during the three-week run of the Olympics on NBC and its cable affiliates.

NBC has generated disappointing ratings and sharp criticism for its mainly taped coverage of the Olympics.

The controversial ad shows body bags being stacked outside a tobacco company office building.

That ad, plus one in which young people tried to question tobacco executives about their marketing strategies, were turned down in February after drawing criticism from Philip Morris and several state attorneys general.

The 1998 settlement agreement said the money provided for anti-smoking ads would not be used to personally attack companies or individuals. Both ads were filmed at the New York headquarters of Philip Morris.

For full story, go to AOL.

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