SXSW 2022

How to Rebrand Death: Money, Lies and Media


How does an industry responsible for the deaths of 8 million people each year rebrand as a force for good? By buying science, media and public perception. Under the guise of social good, the tobacco industry is trying to rebrand Itself as an industry with a conscience—quietly and cleverly infiltrating scientific journals and conferences, buying their way into respected media outlets, and using front groups to sow misinformation, all to shape the public narrative and influence government policy. This is especially alarming as the tobacco industry aggressively markets tobacco to Black people, other people of color, and youth, hooking the next generation of nicotine users. Join us to discuss who controls the narrative, how to counter misinformation, and what we can do to expose bad actors.

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  1. Discuss examples of tobacco industry tactics—media campaigns and paid-for science—to protect their bottom line
  2. Learn the greater societal implications of tobacco industry marketing and advertising
  3. Learn ways to stop industry deception and take action to combat the industry’s dangerous tactics


  • Lauren Etter, Author of the Devils Playbook and investigative reporter at Bloomberg News, Bloomberg News
  • Mary T Bassett, Director, François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, Harvard University
  • Robin Koval, CEO and President of Truth Initiative, Truth Initiative
  • Stephen Hamill, Vice President of Policy, Advocacy and Communication, Vital Strategies


Ramisa Tasnim, Marketing And Communication Assistant, Vital Strategies

Meta Information:

  • Event: SXSW
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Media Industry
  • Track 2 Unsure
  • Level: Advanced

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