CVS Health pledges not to work with agencies that promote smoking or vaping

CVS Health joins a growing list of companies to Quit Big Tobacco, a Vital Strategies initiative aimed at taking money, talent and expertise away from the tobacco and e-cigarette industries

e4m by e4m Desk
Published: May 4, 2019 10:56 AM  | 4 min read
Quit Tobacco

CVS Health, a US based premier health innovation company as well as the seventh largest company in the United States in terms of revenue, has pledged not to work with advertising or public relations agencies who work with tobacco and e-cigarette companies, following its decision to remove tobacco from its stores five years ago. They are the first major corporate brand to join the Quit Big Tobacco campaign created by Vital Strategies, an international public health organisation headquartered in New York. 

The tobacco industry spends billions of dollars each year on cigarette and e-cigarette marketing, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Marketing tactics, such as kid-friendly flavours and promotion by social media influencers, have contributed to the nearly 80% rise in vaping among US high school students between 2017 and 2018. A National Health Institute survey found that 40 per cent of young adults who use e-cigarettes every day or some days were never smokers before trying e-cigarettes.

“This is what corporate leadership looks like. CVS Health’s pledge builds on their 2014 forward-thinking decision to stop selling tobacco products in their stores, thus depriving the tobacco industry from the creative talent it needs to target youth in the United States and around the world. It’s a game changer. We hope this bold decision will encourage other health-minded companies to follow suit. We congratulate CVS Health and thank them for taking the Quit Big Tobacco pledge,” said José Luis Castro, President and CEO of Vital Strategies.

“Five years ago, we quit selling all tobacco products and made a commitment to help people lead tobacco-free lives, including investing in youth tobacco prevention programs in order to support the first tobacco-free generation. Big tobacco is increasingly using new channels to directly target our youth – including leveraging social media and influencers. We unequivocally take the Quit Big Tobacco pledge, meaning we will not work with any marketing and public relations agencies that have ties with the tobacco industry, and we urge other companies to join us in this critically important fight,” said Norman de Greve, Chief Marketing Officer for CVS Health.

CVS Health is the first major corporate brand to pledge to Quit Big Tobacco, joining more than 200 organisations that have signed on to the campaign. Vital Strategies promotes its Tobacco-Free Agencies list so that companies can make sure the ad or public relations agencies they work with have no ties to the tobacco industry. Vital Strategies also unveiled the Quit Big Tobacco badge, which may be displayed by pledgers to convey their involvement in the campaign. CVS Health is working to add language outlining the requirement to contracts for both current and future partnerships with all marketing agencies. 

"CVS Health's leadership as the first major brand to sign the Quit Tobacco Pledge sends a powerful message to the advertising, marketing and public relations communities that engaging with an industry that makes billions by harming millions will cost you. We have no doubt more companies will follow CVS Health and sign the pledge, especially given the urgency surrounding the growing e-cigarette epidemic addicting a new generation to nicotine and putting youth at greater risk of smoking deadly cigarettes,” said Robin Koval, CEO and President of Truth Initiative.

“Tobacco companies claim that all their lying and deception is behind them, but they’re reaching out to their old advertising friends under new pretenses. At CPB, we know agency reputation and new business suffers when a client’s goal is selling addiction. CVS Health’s pledge to Quit Big Tobacco is a strong signal to our industry that cutting ties with the tobacco industry isn’t just good practice- it’s good business,” said Alex Bogusky, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of advertising agency Crispin Porter Bogusky. 

Quit Big Tobacco, an initiative of Vital Strategies, unites leading advertising agencies, public relations firms, and health-oriented organisations and brands to pledge not to work with the tobacco industry or agencies that do. Ad and PR agencies that pledge to Quit Big Tobacco join a list of Tobacco-Free Agencies committed not to work with tobacco or vaping clients. Organizations and brands that value health pledge not to work with agencies that have tobacco clients. By taking talent and expertise away from Big Tobacco, Quit Big Tobacco aims to reduce the uptake of tobacco use and its health harms so that people can live longer, healthier lives.

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It’s crucial to live up to the promises your brand makes: Sanjiv Mehta

Mehta, Former CEO & MD of Hindustan Unilever, addressed the winners of IMPACT Top 30 Under 30 2023

By e4m Staff | Sep 26, 2023 8:51 AM   |   4 min read

impact sanjiv mehta

Sanjiv Mehta, Former CEO & MD of Hindustan Unilever, was the Chief Guest at the tenth edition of IMPACT Top 30 Under 30 awards. He gave a special address and answered questions posed by the winners of the coveted list.

Addressing the question of gender diversity in workplaces and the challenges female professionals face due to intangible prejudices, like male group dynamics and token diversity appointments in leadership roles, Mehta shared, “I believe that humanity has done injustice to women. If you go back to the past, women were equal partners. But over the years, there has been injustice. When I took over as the CEO of HUL, we had 18 per cent women in management. When I left, we had 46 per cent. And a clear pathway that in another two years, we will be gender-balanced. When it comes to women, they don't have to be like men to succeed. They have to be absolutely comfortable in their skin. They bring in strengths which men don't have, and they will be able to blossom only when they are able to play to their strengths. Organizations focus on how to help people improve their development needs. But beyond a certain point, that's the wrong way to look at it. We need to ask ourselves how we play to a person's strengths. When you're comfortable in your own skin, you will excel in what you do.”

He further highlighted the importance of gender diversity in the consumer goods industry, emphasizing the strong business case for having women represented in management roles, “I'm from the consumer goods industry. Consider this: 75% of decisions are made by women, and most of our consumers are women. It's crucial to reflect our consumer base in our management team for a strong business case, regardless of social justice concerns. Before India and South Asia, I ran Unilever's business in North Africa and the Middle East. In 2008, there were only two women in our Saudi office. Today, Saudi Arabia, under Mohammed bin Salman, is more progressive. When I left as chair of North Africa Middle East, 48 per cent of the office was comprised of women. We aimed to make Unilever Arabia the best workplace for women, following country laws for separate spaces, though the women we recruited rarely used them due to the comfort we provided. So today the world is at your feet. I don't think, at least in my lifetime, there's been a better opportunity for women to succeed in India and the world at large,” he said.

Mehta discussed the enduring relevance of established brands and the key factors of purpose and performance in branding. “First and foremost, it's crucial to approach business with the perspective that it can be a force for good and that brands, in particular, can also serve this purpose. Many people mistakenly believe that traditional brands are no longer relevant, but it's essential to recognize that brands are here to stay. From a brand perspective, purpose is a key factor, followed by performance. In today's world, driven by technology and personalization, brands must have a clear point of view, one that aligns with the essence of the brand itself. This doesn't mean merely adopting a viewpoint for the sake of it, but rather articulating something that resonates with the brand's identity. Your brand's vision and actions must move in harmony; otherwise, consumers will quickly notice the disconnection,” he shared.

Citing an example of Lifebuoy during the COVID-19 pandemic, he illustrated the significance of aligning brand messaging with its core purpose, he explained, “Consider timeless brands like Lifebuoy, for instance, which centres around the concept of family health. During the first wave of COVID-19, while most of us were at home, essential goods like Lifebuoy continued production. In a virtual factory visit, a blue-collar worker demonstrated the brand's purpose by showing a bar of Lifebuoy soap, emphasizing its role in protection. This exemplifies what purpose-driven branding is all about - when consumers can associate your product with its intended purpose. However, it's crucial to live up to the promises your brand makes. If you are asked to create advertising that deviates from your product's functionality or the essence of your brand, firmly reject it. Staying true to your brand's promise, values, and alignment with product functionality allows for creative marketing that resonates with consumers, ultimately building strong brands that connect with the hearts and minds of your audience. Stick to your values.”

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Reliance Foundation urges fans to wish Indian contingent the very best at the Asian Games

The campaign has been brought to life by Ogilvy India

By e4m Staff | Sep 25, 2023 4:19 PM   |   3 min read

Reliance Foundation

The 19th Asian Games has over 650 Indian athletes, its biggest contingent ever, representing the country at the continent’s showpiece event. Reliance Foundation has launched the #LehraDoTeamIndia campaign to celebrate the Indian athletes and encourage the fans to get behind them with the iconic 'Lehra Do' cry as they aim to seek glory for the nation and make the tricolour fly high in Hangzhou, China.

The campaign features some of India’s most decorated and celebrated athletes as well as athletes who will be appearing at the Asian Games for the first time and have immense promise. Among the stars to feature in the campaign are two-time Olympic medalist PV Sindhu as well as hockey legends PR Sreejesh and Sushila Chanu. It also features veterans Achanta Sharath Kamal (Table Tennis) and Virdhawal Khade (Aquatics), who have represented India at multiple Asian Games. Avinash Sable (Steeplechase) will be looking to add an Asian Games medal to his Commonwealth Games medal from last year, while Tejaswin Shankar (Decathlon) will look to add a decathlon medal to his bronze in high jump from the Commonwealth Games last year. 

The campaign also has an eye on the future by including Shaili Singh (Long Jump), Anupama Upadhyaya (Badminton), Simranjeet Kaur (Archery), Mayuri Lute (Cycling) and Yash Tushir (Wrestling), who will all be making their first appearance at the Asian Games but are already among the brightest talents in the country. Abhinav Bindra, the 1st Indian to win an individual Gold at the Olympics, also headlines the campaign. The campaign has been brought to life by Ogilvy India. 

Reliance Foundation athletes seek glory at Asian Games: Reliance Foundation’s athletes have been in fine form this year, putting in impressive displays at the World Championships in athletics and boxing, the Asian Athletics Championships as well as the World University Games. 

  • A total of 19 athletes from the Reliance Foundation will be competing at the Asian Games this year, including Lovlina Borgohain, Jyothi Yarraji, Amlan Borgohain, Jinson Johnson, Manika Batra, Shiva Thapa, Man Singh, Mohammed Afsal, Gulveer Singh, Kartik Kumar, Dhruv Kapila, Anupama Upadhyaya, Simranjeet Kaur, Vicky, Mrinal Chauhan, Tushar Shelke, Ganemat Sekhon, Palak Gulia and Kishore Kumar Jena. 

Reliance Foundation also runs the largest corporate sports programs for the development of sports across the nation. Reliance Foundation’s Sports for Development initiatives have been helping kids across the nation to help achieve their sports dreams. These sports programs have a mass reach - promoting inclusivity, providing sponsorships, and sports science and nutrition assistance for the elite as well as promising upcoming athletes. 

Reliance Foundation celebrates the spirit of sports – joy, health, grit, determination, winning and losing. And works to ensure that more and more children and youth from all sections of society are able to play sports and, in the process, build a fitter, stronger and more active India. Our initiatives have touched the lives of over 22 million young people since 2013 across the country from 13,000+ schools and colleges, enabling an opportunity for a talented kid anywhere to be able to achieve their dream of a career/glory in sports. We are especially committed to ensuring more presence and success of girl and women athletes in India and design our programmes in a manner that offers them maximum opportunities. At Reliance Foundation, we hope to be the wind beneath the wings of Indian sportspersons and help them reach their true potential. For more information please follow us on

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IMPACT unveils Top 30 under 30 list, 2023

The 30 winners have been selected from 150+ nominations

By e4m Staff | Sep 25, 2023 9:17 PM   |   3 min read

impact 30

IMPACT Top 30 Under 30 has year after year commemorated the most talented young agency professionals in the A&M space. The flagship property of IMPACT Magazine by the exchange4media Group celebrated the future of the industry in a glittering ceremony attended by top industry professionals, as well as some of the most illustrious names who have been on the list over the past decade. In its tenth edition, the emphasis on Digital is even more pronounced when compared to the previous editions, as the industry races forward at lightning speed.

IMPACT Top 30 Under 30 this year brings to the fore professionals, who are under 30 years of age and yet are accomplished entrepreneurs or gifted admen and women. The importance of these young minds lies in the fact that they look at the world through a different lens, a more modern, and updated one. Their version of truth, reality, and society is what actually matters because they will be the champions of the future. It is pertinent that we understand and recognise their talent.

While addressing the listers of 2023, Dr. Annurag Batra, Editor-in-Chief, exchange4media, and Chairman, BW Businessworld, had some words of wisdom. He said, "Keep climbing Mount Everests in your life, but do not forget to help people."

This year the award features young professionals from varied backgrounds. We have listers from five creative agencies, six Digital agencies, two marketing agencies, one long-form content studio, one ad tech, and two content agencies, among others. The even better news is that some of these are young entrepreneurs who have started their own journey, managing to create a strong impact.

Sanjiv Mehta, the former Chairman of HUL, who was also the Chief Guest at the event, answered questions posed by the listers of 2023. While answering a question on balancing ethics and selling products, he said, "You have to come from a perspective that business and brands are a force for good. Many times, people think that the age of brands is over, but they are completely wrong. When you look at it from a brand's perspective, the most important things are purpose, performance, and in today's world, personalisation. Your 'brand say', and 'brand do', have to move in tangent. If you do not, you will be called out."

Among the 30 winners, we have 12 women listers, and 19 men listers, selected from 150+ nominations. This does not add up to 30, because for the first time we have two joint winners, co-founders of a successful Digital consultancy. The scope of work featured this year transcends that of previous years, as it should.

It is safe to say that at IMPACT, we try to oppose Irish writer, George Bernard Shaw’s cynical quote, “youth is wasted on the young.” Presenting IMPACT Top 30 Under 30 2023 list.

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Yuva Kabaddi Series 2023 onboards CARS24 as title sponsor

The series is scheduled from September 24 to October 22

By e4m Staff | Sep 25, 2023 1:33 PM   |   1 min read


Yuva Kabaddi Series has joined hands with CARS24 as its title sponsor for its upcoming monsoon edition, scheduled from September 24 to October 22.

The series will witness the participation of emerging talents from more than sixteen states, providing them with a professional platform to showcase their skills and compete at the national level.

“We are glad to partner with CARS24 whose remarkable global footprint and unwavering market leadership underscore their commitment to advancing innovation and fostering agility. This exciting partnership not only brings us together but also marks the start of an exciting journey where we're ready for rapid growth of the sport and many exciting opportunities ahead. The partnership will play a key role in shaping the future of Indian kabaddi,” commented Suhail Chandhok, Co-Founder, Yuva Kabaddi Series.

"Kabaddi embodies the essence of great teamwork, unwavering determination, boundary-pushing, and a relentless pursuit of powerful performance and excellence. At CARS24, we resonate deeply with these values as we continue to revolutionise the autotech industry. Through our partnership with the Yuva Kabaddi Series, our mission is crystal clear: to inspire the next generation of athletes, empowering them to chase their dreams with the same unwavering determination and fearlessness that defines CARS24. We eagerly anticipate a season filled with exciting matches and a journey marked by the values of collaboration, perseverance, and ultimate triumph!," said Gajendra Jangid, Co Founder & Chief Marketing Officer, CARS24.

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Humans of Bombay copyright row explained

The photoblog platform has filed a lawsuit against People of India over 'copyright infringement'

By e4m Staff | Sep 25, 2023 1:33 PM   |   5 min read


Chaos broke loose on over the weekend when the much-celebrated photoblog Humans of Bombay (HoB) was in the news for filing a lawsuit against People of India (PoI) for copyright infringement.

According to the plaintiff, PoI copied HoB's storytelling format, which showcases human interest stories centred on photographs of ordinary people. The plea also mentioned that PoI lifted films from HoB's Instagram account without seeking permission first.

The Delhi High Court has issued a summons to People of India and has scheduled the hearing for October 11.

Considering HoB is itself inspired by Humans of New York (HoNY), the irony of the situation was not lost on anyone. After news broke of HoB's lawsuit, the internet had a field day trolling HoB and its founder Karishma Mehta.

History of Humans of Bombay

Mehta founded HoB in 2014 as a Facebook page, which was then expanded onto other platforms. The posts are centred on evocative photographs accompanied by compelling stories of the subjects. They often go viral on social media, owing to the nature of the stories, which often have an element of sensationalism.

Eventually, the page was monetised, giving room for brands to cash in on the popularity of the platform. HoB also saw some controversies with some users accusing it of showcasing one-sided stories. The biggest controversy came in 2022, when the page started crowdfunding for a middle-class girl who wished to study at Harvard. Calling the campaign a scam, many netizens also questioned the veracity of the girl's claims and HoB's complicity in them.

Founder Karishma Mehta's viral video where she defended her "self-made" tag also didn't sit well with the netizens. Mehta's claim that she founded HoB with a Rs one lakh "loan" from her father was ridiculed as tone-deaf since many pointed out that she came from a privileged family."

Supposed financial records of HoB shared on social media show that the company made a Profit After Tax of over Rs 3 crore in 2022. However, the authenticity of the records cannot be individually verified

Copyright controversy

On Friday, news broke that HoB filed a lawsuit against PoI for copyright infringement. It didn't take too long for Brandon Stanton, the founder of HoNY, to chime in with a tweet. 

The tweet has been shared close to 8,000 times till now with most of the posts coming in support of Stanton and bashing HoB. "HoB is not an appropriation but actually an insult to your work. It’s embarrassing that it exists and this action of their founder to sue someone else for the same stuff they’re doing reeks of insecurity," wrote one commentator.

Eagle-eyed netizens also noted that HoB has also copied HoNY's bio on Instagram. To add more to the controversy, an old video of Mehta, claiming to have "stumbled" upon the idea of HoB has also gone viral.

After Stanton put HoB on full blast on Twitter, the issue received nationwide and global attention. Social media is also rife with stories of people claiming to be former employees and clients of HoB.

People were particularly irked by HoB's sarcastic rebuttal to Stanton.

The company soon backtracked by following up with a mollified version of the statement, clarifying that PoI was sued for intellectual property theft and not for appropriating the storytelling style.

In the post, HoB expressed gratitude towards Brandon Stanton and HoNY for pioneering the storytelling movement. It also noted that it intended to settle the matter amicably before the matter was taken to court.

Who is Brandon Stanton?

Brandon Stanton is an American author, photographer, and blogger who kickstarted the Humans of New York photoblog. He has authored the book Humans of New York and was named Time magazine's "30 Under 30 People Changing The World" in 2013.

Who is Karishma Mehta?

According to Karishma Mehta's public profile, she is described as a "writer and photographer." Apart from founding HoB, she has also authored a book titled Humans of Bombay much like Stanton, and is a TEDx presenter.

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BC Web Wise wins digital creative mandate for Joy Personal Care

The agency will drive brand love with innovative creatives across digital platforms

By e4m Staff | Sep 25, 2023 11:55 AM   |   1 min read


Joy Personal Care has joined hands with BC Web Wise as its digital marketing agency. The mandate was won after a multi-agency pitch process initiated by Joy Personal Care. The agency will drive brand awareness and consideration across the product portfolio with creative, innovative, relatable content.

Speaking about having a new digital partner, Poulomi Roy, Chief Marketing Officer of Joy Personal Care, says, “We believe in the natural beauty of women. We offer products that help maintain, not accentuate their natural beauty. We have ensured that our brand beliefs are at the core of our communication strategy over the years. Our strategy has been a reflection that beauty is not just about products; it’s about crafting experiences that resonate with our audience’s aspirations. With BC Web Wise’s creative brilliance and strategic insights, we are thrilled to embark on this new journey to redefine our connection with our clientele.”

On their appointment as partners, Chaaya Baradhwaaj, founder & MD of BC Web Wise, says, “We are honoured and excited to onboard a brand that has set standards of elegance for generations. Our mission is to amplify Joy Personal Care’s story through innovative storytelling and strategic digital campaigns that resonate with our loyal audience and new admirers.”

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e4m Pitch Top 50 Brands 2023: Celebrating timeless brands in the ‘Evergreens’ category

The category will showcase brands that have been built and preserved their identity over the years

By e4m Staff | Sep 25, 2023 11:25 AM   |   3 min read


The much-awaited upcoming edition of Pitch 50 Brands 2023 will be held on October 18 in Gurugram. The spectacular award night will honour the top five brands across ten categories for their exemplary works.

The 10 categories include - Bottom of the Pyramid, Challengers, Digital First, Evergreens, Impactful Debuts, Luxe, Newsmakers, Regionals, Resurgents and Social Contributors.

The awards night will be graced by top leaders from the advertising and market fraternity.

This article delves deep into the ‘Evergreen category’ in the Pitch 50 Brands 2023 list. The ‘Evergreens’ category includes brands that are classic and timeless in their own unique ways. These brands have managed to adapt themselves to changing trends and evolving consumer preferences and have honed their identity to perfection over the years. The brands under the ‘Evergreens’ category are the ones that have made a mark in the market with their dedication and outstanding work.

The brands under the ‘Evergreens’ category possess an enduring identity that resonates with consumers across generations and takes pride in their timelessness through their design, values, and product offerings. These classic brands have stood the test of time and pioneered excellence in their respective domains. Brands under this category can be an Indian or a multinational, with existence in India for the last 30 years or more.

In 2023, the Advisory Board will be chaired by D Shivakumar, Operating Partner, Advent International, and Former Chairperson & Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo India. The other members include Anuja Mishra, CMO, Honasa (Mamaearth, BBlunt, The DermaCo, Aqualogica), Amal Kelshikar, Executive Director, Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd; Ajay Gupte, Chief Executive Officer-South Asia, Wavemaker; Dheeraj Sinha, Managing Director, Leo Burnett; Poonam Kaul, Former CMO of Apple India; Rohit Ohri, Chairman & CEO, FCB Ulka India; Rahul Talwar, Chief Marketing Officer, Max Life Insurance; Sunil Suresh, CMO, Global Head of Marketing, Corp Comm, Loyalty & Business Head eCom, Air India; Sanjeev Jasani, COO, Cheil India and Vikram Sakhuja, Group CEO, Madison Media & OOH.

In the year before, a total of seven brands were awarded in the ‘Evergreens’ category. The winners including Asian Paints, Bata, Dabur, Hero Cycles, Lakmé, Parle G and Philips took home the honours for serving as a benchmark of excellence in their respective domains and leaving an indelible mark in the minds of the consumers.

Moreover, classic and timeless brands command a level of trust and loyalty that is unparalleled in the ever-evolving world of commerce. Their products and services are associated with consistent quality, craftsmanship, and a commitment to excellence. This trust is built upon a foundation of reliability and a track record of delivering on promises. Consumers turn to these brands not just for the products themselves, but for the experience and heritage they represent. By maintaining their core values and adapting judiciously to changing market landscapes, classic and timeless brands continue to hold a special place in the hearts of consumers, ensuring their legacy endures for generations to come.

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