Fleishman-Hillard PR

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

The Tobacco Institute shopped out many of its PR operations to Fleishman-Hillard PR: this helped them keep their internal PR staff for fire-fighting activities. However it was always No.3 or No.4 in the PR heirarchy: Hill & Knowlton and Burson Marsteller were the primary PR global strategy corporations working with the tobacco industry both in the various US States, and also around the world.

Fleishman-Hillard Inc. was, even then, a public relations company with global operations, and it became a specialist in conducting media tours and arranging press briefings for the Tobacco Institute, but mainly only across America.

However F-H's media tours were an important component for the industry to reach out to the public, the journalists and the legislators with their current propaganda. This process usually consisted of the PR company taking their celebrity scientist or academic lobbyist on visits to important State capitals or major centers where interviews were arranged with local newspapers, radio and TV stations. The would need to confect some 'news peg' which provided an excuse for the celebrity visit.

With the tobacco industry witnesses, the supposed reason for the visit would be generated with the help of State or Regional Directors for the Tobacco Institute or for Philip Morris, and ideally, it would be in association making an appearance at a local ordinance or legislative hearing involving some aspect of public smoking. If this wasn't a viable excuse, a completely fictitious 'news peg' would be created by (say) claiming that this 'world expert' in sick buildings, had been conducting a survey of public buildings in the city, or something similar.

We know a lot about the way in which Fleishman-Hillard PR operated with these media tours because the organiser was required to prepare a day-to-day activities report to justify their services and expense claims.