Cranberries etc peddle tobacco to Indonesian kids

Delores O'Riordan of the Cranberries giving a peace sign - or is she asking her fans for a smoke?

It’s that time of year again. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was ranting and raving against the likes of Wolfmother and Chris Carrabba for accepting tobacco sponsorship to play in Indonesia. Well, another crop of muso sell-outs led by the Cranberries (that’s what’s-her-face pictured left) are lining up like dirty little piggies at the tobacco-money trough to play at the Java Rockin’ Land music festival from July 22 to 24.

In other words, they’re telling Indonesian kids it’s cool and sophisticated and very, very sexy to smoke. Nice one, creeps.

Here’s a message from a kind reader, Marita Hefler, drawing my attention to the event and a petition against the show’s tobacco sponsorship. Marita writes:

Hi there, great writing – love your posts about the tobacco industry in Indonesia. Java Rockin’ Land is happening again 22-24 July, with Gudang Garam the main sponsor. There is a petition urging all the bands involved to demand the sponsorship be dumped, see: So far, no artist has responded. Yet again, double standards prevail in the lineup: the Good Charlotte frontman is a UNICEF goodwill ambassador and he and his brother have their own children’s foundation; 30 Seconds to Mars are active in environmental causes, and lead singer Jared Leto support Elysium, a charity to support critically ill children; Neon Trees have said they don’t want to be part of tobacco sponsorship and have played at an anti-smoking gig; Ed Kowalczyk is a World Vision rep. Blood Red Shoes have supported a cancer charity, and The Cranberries are well-known for speaking out about political issues. Apparently international bands just dump their principles in a bin before they board a plane to Jakarta. Disgraceful.

To these musicians I say: Do the right thing. Follow the example of Alicia Keys or Kelly Clarkson, and demand the tobacco companies cancel their sponsorship of the event. Failing this, cancel your shows. That’s the only way you can salvage your credibility in the eyes of people who care about kids in countries like Indonesia, where they are the explicit targets of an aggressive and foul Big Tobacco marketing campaign the likes of which the West has not seen in decades (because it was made illegal). By playing at this event you are being used by tobacco companies to create young nicotine addicts in a way that would be unacceptable and illegal in your home countries.

Acceptance of the tobacco money means you are either desperate for cash, or so greedy that you don’t give a damn about your young fans. Or both. Oink oink!

(Photo courtesy of Joe Crimmings Photography)


4 responses to “Cranberries etc peddle tobacco to Indonesian kids

  1. I guess bands shouldn’t play alcohol sponsored festivals either, since alcohol is responsible for violence and death as well. A music festival is a music festival, no matter the sponsor.

  2. Nick, while it’s true that alcohol does cause social and health problems when not used responsibly, and alcohol companies targeting young people can be a problem, there is a safe level of alcohol consumption for most people. There is no safe level of cigarette use. Cigarettes kill nearly 6 million people annually worldwide, compared to around 2 million alcohol deaths. Cigarettes are the only consumer product that prematurely kill half of all long-term users if used as intended. Tobacco use is such a serious problem it is the subject of the only global health treaty (the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control).

  3. Alcohol isn’t great either and that’s why many bands play at alcohol-free concerts for teenagers, which of course I support. In Indonesia they should play at tobacco-free concerts too, seeing as how cigarettes are the “only legally available consumer product that kills through normal use” (to quote the World Health Organisation). Alas in Indonesia tobacco companies are able to buy the services of bands like the Cranberries and Dashboard Confessional and Wolfmother to help them push their lethal, addictive products on children.

  4. Yes, it’s really disappointing how these bands sell out to tobacco in Indonesia (especially when they support causes against cancer in their own countries – can’t they see the contradiction?). I agree alcohol sponsorships can be a problem, and plenty of alcohol companies are irresponsible in their marketing. I think though, that most bands would be far more wary about being seen to market alcohol to kids than tobacco. Thanks for publishing this blog 🙂

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