Imperial Tobacco twists and burns

Friday 21 November 2003

ASH news release:  Immediate: Friday 21 November 2003
An ad for Imperial Tobacco’s Rizla cigarette papers has been banned by the Advertising Standards  Agency for promoting drug use. It featured a packet of cigarette papers that was twisted at one end; the logo on the packet stated “BURN +.”  The ASA ruled that the ad and its strap line ‘Twist and Burn’ could be seen to be ‘condoning the consumption of illegal drugs’ [1].

Imperial insists that there was no intentional reference to drug use.

But ASH have discovered that Imperial Tobacco has registered ‘EZWider’ as their trademark for a potential new range of cigarette papers [2]. The play on words, links cigarette papers to the cult 1969 movie Easy Rider.

Deborah Arnott, director of ASH, asks:

Easy Rider epitomises much of what people today believe the era of the sixties to have been like: the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll that defined a generation. Jimmy Hendrix, The Band, Steppenwolf; hippies, drugs and psychedelia; its all there – I wonder which bit Imperial were trying not to refer to when they applied for their EZWider cigarette paper trademark?

Notes and links:

[1]  ASA adjudication on cigarette paper ad (no longer available online)

[2] Imperial’s registration of trademark with the Patent Office:


Contact: Deborah Arnott  020 7739 5902 (w) 079 7693 5987 (m) ISDN available