RICHMOND, Va. — A recent study released by Altria has found that sponsoring local events and buildings is cheaper and easier than simply not killing people with cigarettes. Altria, the parent company behind Marlboro Cigarettes and other tobacco-related products, conducted the study to measure public perception of the corporation.
The study, which consisted of online surveys and in-person focus groups, found that funding cultural and sporting events, restoring and dedicating local buildings, and simply pretending not to be Big Tobacco was enough to get Richmond residents to hold the corporation in high regard.
“We’re very pleased with the findings,” Janet Cummings, Altria’s Director of Marketing, commented. “Rebranding in 2003 was a solid step towards improving our image, but it turns out we can spend less money by financing public shit and everyone is willing to just look the other way.”
Sponsoring the Altria Theater, Richmond Folk Festival, exhibitions at the VMFA, Richmond 10Ks and marathons, and several VCU buildings has helped improve Altria’s public image over the past 14 years, despite the fact that the corporation makes a range of products that have been overwhelmingly proven to kill humans.
“Altria is looking forward to exploring new ways to support the community while also giving the community throat, neck, and lung cancer,” a statement that accompanied the study read. “This research affirms that corporations like Altria, and we assume Dominion Energy and Capital One, can just give money to local organizations desperate for funds and the public will be totally fine with everything.”
“This is a big win for shady corporations,” Altria’s CEO William Beekman, whose salary exceeded $10 million last year, added. “Profits are up, perception is good, and no one cares that we literally make a profit from products known to give consumers emphysema.”
As of press time cigarettes were causing about one of every five deaths in the United States each year.