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Anti-smoking Ad Provocateur Steps Down

Chuck Wolfe, who has presided over high-profile ad campaigns designed to stop kids from smoking, will step down as executive vice president of the American Legacy Foundation, he said Tuesday.

Wolfe was hired last year to create a national anti-smoking ad effort using money from the tobacco industry's settlement of claims with 46 states. Earlier, he headed Florida's anti-smoking campaign under former Gov. Lawton Chiles.

"I feel like I have done the building of the place that I wanted to do, and now I want to find another place to do that," Wolfe said. He plans to stay with the foundation through a transition period and has no immediate plans to take another job, he said.

Foundation president Cheryl Healton said Wolfe "laid the groundwork for a model organization dedicated to diversity and partnership, not to mention an aggressive and youth-focused campaign against tobacco."

Legacy's $150-225 million campaign — by Arnold Communications, Boston, and Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami — first became embroiled in controversy when the major TV networks complained that the ads unfairly compared tobacco to safe products such as soda and sneakers.

The networks deemed the campaign’s ambush-style ads — mostly filmed at Phillip Morris headquarters in New York — "morbid" and refused to air them. After Phillip Morris threatened legal action over spots titled "Body Bag" and "Lie Detector," Legacy pulled them off the air — only to restore them at the end of April.


Wendy Melillo, May 10, 2000, Adweek

Copyright © 2000 Adweek & BPI Communications, Inc.. All rights reserved.