Thursday, June 27, 2013

Project SCUM

Project SCUM was a devious plan proposed by the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (RJR) to sell cigarettes to members of the "alternative lifestyle" areas of San Francisco, CA, and in particular the large number of Gay people living in the Castro area and the homeless people found in the Tenderloin.

The acronym "SCUM" stood for "subculture urban marketing." RJR, perhaps recognizing the offensive nature of its label, later renamed the marketing plan "Project Sourdough."

An anti-smoking campaign called The Truth targeted R. J. Reynolds for Project SCUM, arguing that it not only showed the usual exploitative tobacco marketing techniques but added to them an explicit contempt, or even hatred, for the people for which it was trying to market its products.

What do you think? Submit your vote at: ugly truth


  1. The tobacco industry has cultivated and capitalized on the culture of smoking among homeless people. In 1995, R.J. Reynolds launched Project SCUM, a “Sub-Culture Urban Marketing” plan targeting vulnerable groups in the San Francisco area, including “street people” in the Tenderloin.

    Tobacco-industry documents also reveal these companies' efforts at building a consumer base in the homeless community through the distribution of branded blankets to homeless people, volunteerism at homeless service sites, and the provision of cigarettes to homeless shelters.

    Sources - NEJM: Tobacco Use among Homeless People — Addressing the Neglected Addiction and Homeless Face Hidden Epidemic of Smoking

  2. Targeting the vulnerable. That's how unscrupulous cowards roll.

    I'll say it again, nothing good ever comes from a nicotine addiction. HPD: Captives lured to northwest Houston home with promise of cigarettes, food