"Top secret Operation Rainmaker" was a project discussed at March 20, 1990 meeting of Philip Morris executives in 1990 to determine what the tobacco industry should do to reverse the steadily declining social acceptability of smoking.
Notes on Operation Rainmaker address strategic plans for improving social, legislative, and regulatory climate for marketing and use of tobacco products. Lists actions, such as "take more realistic positions; disband Tobacco Institute to re-form as two bodies: one for lobbying, one for information; acquire media outlet, such a United Press International; mobilize groups such as AARP, NRA. Also lists other issues, such a gays, oil, fur, asbestos.
Among notes taken at the meeting:
RWM point one - what are we trying to accomplish?
Prevent further deterioration of overall social, legislative and regulatory climate, and ultimately actually improve the climate for the marketing of tobacco products.
Social Climate - accommodation program has been proven and must be expanded.
Peace with Congress - peace not possible for a long time, but it possible to reach a grudging stalemate
Lower criticism of product - expand knowledge base of smokers; take more realistic positions; push accommodation as "The American Way."
ACTION- Assuming we are not employing an end game
1. Expand dramatically, not contract all of the elements of the education arm of the four point program of identify, educate, recruit and mobilize.
2. Disband the Tobacco Institute and reconstitute it as two bodies: one for lobbying with NO public profile; and another body that is high public profile, information-oriented and NOT the flat earth society.
3. ACQUISITION - If we are to truly influence the public policy agenda and the information flow to the populace we must BE the media, we must be part of it. The only way to do this is to own a major media outlet. If we are not willing to take this step, then we are not serious about really wanting to change the atmosphere.
Organizations that should be very seriously considered include
--Knight Ridder --Zuckerman's group --the Copley News Service --United Press International --or a major city daily that has access to--and from--all of the major wire services.
4. Consumer science publication - this isn an idea that was agreed upon at Downunder. We very much need a publication like Omni for the various science (e.g. ETS) issues. --Buy SmMoke-Enders.
CONCESSIONS - concessions, other than full-blown execution of accommodation should be drive entirely by need in the legislative arenas.
--Expand Philip Morris Magazine --expand newsletter --expand caucus --Expand ASA --Weekly issue ads, al la Mobil, but very broadly published
THE NEXT ISSUE - the downscale creep, continuing taxes; further decline of social acceptability of use of the product.
OTHER EXAMPLES - gays - confront; educate asbestos - give in and leave field fur - educate, but industry as a whole has image of not being green
GROUPS WITHOUT PROBLEMS
Largely not true, but nevertheless they are effective and respected, at least in the legislative arenas.
--AARP - educate; mobilize; confront. It is important to remember that AARP has the LARGEST magazine in the United States.
--NRA - educate; mobilize; heavy confrontation; very political
NAME CHANGE - we must immediately change the name of either Philiip Morris USA or of PM Companies.
COMMENTARY - there is no silver bullet and we are kidding ourselves if we keep on searching for the mysitcal Holy Grail. Rather, we must help put tobacco into a better perspective as it related to today's society. This is not impossible, but it must be a major effort on multiple fronts, and it must be sustained.
A primary speaker at the meeting is indicated by the initials RWM which most likely stand for R. William "Bill" Murray (President and Chief Operating Officer, Philip Morris Companies Inc., USA. Served on Board of Directors for PM from 1987-89. Vice Chairman of Philip Morris Companies in 1990. Was President and CEO in 1992; Chairman 1994).
How the document has been revealed?
In the mid-1990s, Minnesota Attorney General Hubert Humphrey III wrested a legal settlement from the nation's major tobacco companies into which he forced the release and publication of Big Tobacco's secret internal marketing and research documents on the Internet for all to read.
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