One of the biggest tobacco companies in the world wants people to “quit smoking” cigarettes. It’s a PR ploy.
Philip Morris International (PMI) owns 7 of the15 biggest cigarette brands in the world, including Marlboro. They sell 900m cigarettes every year, and have spent billions in a bid to make them “cool.”
But last week, the company ran multiple full-page ads in newspapers announcing they had an unlikely New Year’s resolution: to “stop selling cigarettes” in the UK and get people to “quit smoking.”
Why is the most notorious tobacco company on Earth suddenly hellbent on crushing its own core product?
It’s all part of a rebranding effort
The company’s vision to end smoking isn’t some enlightened quest: it’s the latest installment in their new initiative (dubbed “smoke-free future”) to convert users to its slew of new products.
In the last few years, PMI has invested $3B in developing alternatives to traditional cigarettes, including the iQOS — a pen which heats tobacco without burning it. The company claims these products are a “better choice,” and a healthier alternative, to cigarettes.
To be clear we have a company that has been profiting enormously from cigarettes for decades–and has actively assisted in making the problem worse–now playing the noble sage, here to rectify its sins by shifting the public from one addictive product to another.
Luckily, most health orgs are seeing through this
In a statement last year, the World Health Organization stated that PMI is “marketing tobacco products in ways that misleadingly suggest that some tobacco products are less harmful than others.”
The claims from PMI that their new “smoke-free” products are “a better choice” are still largely unfounded, and some experiments have found they include many of the cancer-causing chemicals normal cigs do.
So, let’s call this what it really is: a company trying desperately to bypass the increasingly harsh regulations imposed on cigarettes by shifting consumers to so-called “safer” alternatives.
The Marlboro Man died of lung cancer
Travis Kalanick pulls an ‘85 Steve Jobs and cashes in 29% of his Uber stake for $1.4B
Ex-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, the same man who once bragged about never selling any of his stake in the company, now plans to sell 29% of his personal Uber shares to SoftBank and several other investors.
And that’s “only” because Uber wouldn’t let him sell more…
“Hold me back, bro”
Travis reportedly attempted to offer up nearly 50% of his piece of the pie, but had to tone it down due to limits laid out in the contract between Uber and the buyers.
While we don’t know Travis’s actual motivations for the move, we have a few guesses:
He wants to live the good life: Though Kalanick’s holdings make him one of the richest people in the world on paper, he’s comparatively cash-poor. This would make him a billionaire.
He’s giving Uber a big middle finger: It’s possible Kalanick just doesn’t have as much faith in Uber without him at the helm (or at least, that’s the point he wants to make). Petty? Sure. But we’re not putting it past him.
He’s pulling a Steve Jobs, circa 1985: AKA, taking all of his toys, going home, starting a new company (called “Unter,” we assume), selling his tech back to Uber 10 years later, and making a triumphant return as CEO.
A cryptocurrency formed as a joke is now worth more than $1B
Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency named after an internet meme, created as a parody, has reached a market value of more than $1B.
Yep. The company with the Shiba Inu-themed mascot, which reportedly hasn’t released a software update in over 2 years, is on fire: last month the coin jumped more than 400%.
This marks yet another sign that “altcoins” like ethereum, ripple, and dogecoin are turning a corner, catching up to the coin king currently on the crypto throne: bitcoin.
But… Dogecoin’s recent spike has its founder worried
Originally created in 2013 to mock the growing crypto craze, dogecoin shot to fame a year later after a slew of viral hits (like successfully sponsoring a Nascar team at Talladega) but has since faded back into obscurity — until now.
And while most of the company’s workforce seems thrilled about the spike, dogecoin’s founder Jackson Palmer believes this may be a troubling sign of broader market excess.
He’s been sounding the alarm for a while
Like any new craze involving big money, crypto has become vastly polarizing on both sides of the virtual coin.
Many old school traders are scoffing at the mania, while the new guard is all in, as if to fill the void in their Beanie Baby-shaped hearts.
At first an enabler, Jackson Palmer has recently been one of the loudest voices against crypto, warning of an impending market crash.
Mark Cuban looks to stake his claim in the world of Japanese professional wrestling
The full-time billionaire, part-time co-panelist on NBC’s Shark Tank owns businesses, a basketball team, and even a TV Network — and now he’s looking to get in the ring with the world’s number one “sports entertainment” company: the WWE.
Cuban’s TV Network AXS TV acquired the rights to broadcast a Japanese professional wrestling league called New Japan Professional Wrestling back in 2015. And reportedly, it’s the “[fastest] growing wrestling company in the world.”
So, how does it stack up against WWE?
According to Business Insider, AXS TV Fights CEO Andrew Simon declined to show hard numbers but said the network’s seen “double-digit growth every year since launching the series in 2015.”
And they definitely don’t lack in sexy character names, like “Switchblade” Jay White, Kazuchika Okada, and, of course, their current posterboy Kenny Omega.
That said, WWE is still an entertainment behemoth: ‘Monday Night Raw’ and ‘Smackdown’ are pulling in 3m+ viewers, making it the #1 show on Monday night cable by viewership.
Put simply, the WWE is tough to beat in terms of eyeballs.
But the Cubez has hopes it will grow
While WWE’s owner Vince McMahon claims to be unshaken by the competition, Cuban thinks New Japan (as it’s commonly known) has a real shot to compete in the space.
“[McMahon] thinks we’re little sh*ts,” he said. “People here aren’t going to connect as directly [because of the language], but if you really love wrestling, then it’s a no-brainer.”
And it’s not cheesy quotes or inspirational wall posters — just like their podcast, The Art of Charm Bootcamp provides actionable advice, grounded in fact, and are actually capable of making you a better person.
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