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Doctors protest Miller trademarks on toys.

Doctors protest Miller trademarks on toys

Beer and cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris will continue to use its Miller beer trademarks on children's toys despite recent outcry from several physicians.

According to two doctors who monitor alcohol and tobacco company advertising, Miller's trademarks can be found on six toy model racing cars, in addition to a battery-operated "dancing" beer can.

"While the brewer says it does not aim its advertising at children, the use of Miller trademarks on children's toys suggests an amazing lapse of judgment about who plays with plastic model cars," said Dr. John Slade, a specialist in addiction medicine. "The use of Miller trademarks on toy racing cars is also irresponsible because these toys directly link drinking with driving at high speeds.

"It is a situation like [this] that prompted me to file a shareholder resolution with Philip Morris on the way it markets Miller beer," Slade continued. "The resolution asks the company to reexamine the ways its marketing appeals to children and adolescents and the ways it links Miller beer with auto racing. It will be voted on at the Philip Morris annual meeting April 25 in Richmond, VA."

Philip Morris and Miller Brewing Co., however, disagree with Slade's remarks, noting that these models are purchased mainly by adult hobbyists and collectors who want the same detail as found on the actual automobile.

"We have licensing agreements for products that we feel are of real interest to adult model enthusiasts," said Miller spokesperson Beverly Jurkowski. "These models in question are sold in hobby shops, which clearly defines them as adult products."

Jurkowski added that if Miller finds a company misusing its trademark, "it is an infringement on our trademark and we will certainly see to it that something is done about it."

Besides a ban on beer brands toy models, Slade wants to see an end "to marketing on college campuses, the use of automobile racing for advertising, and the use of advertising themes, such as Halloween, which appeal to children." Slade, along with associate Dr. Alan Blum have gone so far as to ask Philip Morris to force a recall of all toys which use Miller trademarks. Slade reported, "Beer advertisements on the shelves of toy stores mock all the work aimed at preventing alcohol among the young."

"These [models] aren't something that you play with," Jurkowski countered. "They are displayed or collected. They are something for adults.

"This is a reality check for everybody," the Miller spokesperson concluded. "It's not just Miller that's involved with this kind of thing, its many groups in the industry who are also concerned about this. The point is we want to have these things available for serious adult collectors."
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Title Annotation:Philip Morris' Miller beer
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Apr 22, 1991
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