Maroon 5 Run Into Tobacco Sponsorship Controversy in Indonesia

The Jakarta Globe

In yet another cigarette sponsorship controversy to hit Indonesia, American rock band Maroon 5 have requested that tobacco affiliations associated with its concert in Jakarta on April 27 be removed.

Again, the controversy has attracted international attention, with Internet petition host and blog saying that after receiving 180 letters complaining of Maroon 5’s tie-in with Gudang Garam’s Surya Professional Mild, the band “and their management moved quickly to have the tobacco company’s name removed from all posters and advertising.”

“Maroon 5’s management informed that the band does not have a direct sponsorship agreement with Surya Professional Mild, but that the entire concert series was sponsored by the company,” the organization said on its Web site.

“After learning from the petition that the band’s name was being used in conjunction with tobacco advertising, Maroon 5’s management contacted the tour promoter, Java MusikIndo, to immediately cease the use of the Surya brand in the promotion of the concert.” noted that Maroon 5 was a group of artists involved in a new youth program that “encourages all young people to get connected and help create a world without cancer.”

“It seems ironic then, that after using their name to advocate for cancer awareness among youth, Maroon 5 is now helping to promote to youth a leading cause of cancer — cigarettes.”

Indonesia’s National Commission for Child Protection on Tuesday urged Java MusikIndo to withdraw the cigarette sponsorship and stop using tobacco companies to sponsor concerts.

The commission, also known as Komnas Anak, had sent a letter to the band and management on Jan. 20, requesting that Java Musikindo remove tobacco promotion.

Commission chairman Arist Merdeka Sirait also criticized the government, saying tobacco advertising should have already been banned given the health dangers that smoking posed.

He said that according to the law, tobacco was an addictive substance similar to alcohol.

“Therefore, if there is no alcohol advertisement through the media, tobacco should be treated the same say.” Arist said.

“It is very important also that the tour promoter find another alternative sponsor for their big events other than tobacco, especially when the tour promoter presents artists or musicians who have many teenage fans.”

Alex Papilaya, chairman of the Tobacco Support Center, said if foreign musicians could perform concerts free of tobacco sponsorship, so could local artists.

“All artists, foreigners or Indonesians, should also care about their fans. Slank for instance, if they can be an antidrug icon for their fans, they also can be anticigarette.” Alex said

He added that artists could also adopt antismoking themes in their music.

Triadi Noor, the director of Velvet Productions, an Indonesian tour promoter that refuses to plug cigarettes, said it was not difficult to promote concerts without tobacco sponsorship.

He said there were many alternative sponsors, including telecommunications companies, Internet providers and soft drink companies.

“We are doing it because we care about the … fans, who are the future … of this country.”

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