Kelly Clarkson tobacco ads target children

Former American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson is encouraging Indonesian kids to light up a smoke and sing along with her tobocco-sponsored concert in Jakarta on April 29.

Luckily for Clarkson, she was able to get that tobacco sponsorship before Indonesia bans cigarette advertising. It’s been reluctant to do so because the government makes so much money out of the business. So Clarkson is happily letting herself be used by the tobacco industry to expand their market among children.

The tobacco people deny this, of course. They don’t try to get children hooked on nicotine, they say.

Their advertising strategies suggest otherwise.

About a quarter of Indonesian boys aged 13 to 15 are already hooked on cigarettes. With Clarkson’s help the tobacco industry might be able to nudge that number a little higher, turning them into life-long smokers (however brief those lives may be). The number of Indonesian men who smoke has risen 26 percent since 1995 and is well over half the total male population.

Matt Myers, president of the US-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said:

If Kelly Clarkson goes ahead with the concert, she is by choice being a spokesman for the tobacco industry and helping them to market to children. She has the power now to turn this situation around and to send a clear message to Indonesian young people and, frankly, to the young people of the world.

When Alicia Keys performed in Jakarta two years ago she demanded tobacco logos be removed from promotional material and apologized to her fans. Alicia Keys, apparently, has class. Clarkson obviously does not.


Indonesia’s second biggest Islamic organisation, Muhammadiyah (membership around 30 million), has now taken aim at the former idol. It recently issued a fatwa declaring smoking and everything related to it haram or fobidden under Islam.

“We do not need to put another fatwa on a thing that is already clear,” Muhammadiyah official Yanuar Ilyas told The Jakarta Globe when asked if it would declare Clarkson’s concert haram as well. He added that Clarkson’s advertising was clearly designed to encourage teenagers to smoke cigarettes.

That’s bad news for Clarkson as she prepares to come to the country with the biggest  Muslim population in the world. She’s just been declared haram. I wonder if she’d thought of this beforehand… I hope the militants from the Islamic Defenders Front don’t show up at her show with sticks and start beating people up.

(Photo courtesy of rolenf via flickr)


One response to “Kelly Clarkson tobacco ads target children

  1. Pingback: Globalisation: the products but not the ethics « Neuroanthropology

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