Reuters reported that Philip Morris had decided to stop a worldwide social media advertising campaign promoting its ISOS device after questions were raised by Reuters about the age of the influencers being used by Philip Morris. The IQOS device heats tobacco, rather than burning it, in order to release nicotine-containing vapor without generating smoke.
In own Marketing Standards, Philip Morris says that it will not use "models who are or appear to be under the age of 25." The Marketing Standards also say that, "All our marketing professionals, wherever they are in the world, must uphold these marketing practices at all times."
According to Reuters' investigation, Philip used at least one model in the campaign, Alina Apilina, who is under age 25. Reuters reported that the company said that, as a result, it has "taken the decision to suspend all of our product-related digital influencer actions globally."
In order to show that they're responsible marketers, companies sometimes create their own advertising guidelines, and then promote the fact that they will comply with them. One of the important things to keep in mind, however, is that if you say you're going to comply with your advertising guidelines, and you fail to do so, regulators or others could take the position that you're engaging in false advertising. Even if you're agreeing to comply with standards that are beyond what the law requires, by advertising that you're going to comply with them, that can be enough to form the basis of a claim. What does this all mean? Well, if you're going to tell consumers that you comply with certain standards, you had better have procedures in place to ensure that you do.