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Racy ad campaign 'goes a cigar too far'
By Simon Canning
25Sep03

THE Australian Jockey Club has been accused of bad taste with a television commercial featuring women toying suggestively with a cigar and caressing each other in a manner critics claim denigrates women.

The advertisement promoting the AJC's Spring Carnival at Randwick racecourse in Sydney's eastern suburbs has been designed to attract more women aged 18-35 to the races.
AJC marketing director Steve Reid says the adverts feature "frolicking ladies being viewed by well-dressed men, surging racehorses and romantic music".

But marketing experts have attacked the campaign. Amanda Stevens, managing director of SplashGroup, which specialises in analysing marketing to women, said the campaign undid the good work of previous successful advertising campaigns. "This ad is denigrating to women," Ms Stevens said.

She said the use of a cigar in the commer cial was reminiscent of a Monica Lewinsky-style act, while the image of two women on the grass touching each other had lesbian overtones. "Women just don't behave like that at the races. This is a male fantasy."

Jane Caro, an Advertising Federation of Australia's ethics committee member, said the advert was deplorable. "I don't see what such images have to do with going to the races," Ms Caro said. "It's lazy, insulting and offensive."

Mr Reid defended the ad, saying the scenes featuring women caressing each other and a woman playing suggestively with a cigar were only minor elements. "I think it is really a tribute to women and the way modern woman is living out her role in society," Mr Reid says.

"There is a lot of seduction and romance in the images portrayed. We do like to push it."


World bankers hoe into the caviar
September 25, 2003

After long days sorting out Argentina's debt default and Iraq's economy, bankers in Dubai for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings are spending their nights exploring other aspects of global trade: caviar, foie gras, lobster and belly-dancing.

It's on the sidelines, at once-a-year parties, where the bankers have a chance to meet clients, competitors and colleagues all in one place.

"I'm seeing 60 clients in three days," said Jacob Frenkel, chairman of Merrill Lynch International and former head of the Bank of Israel, declining to name them. "The name of the game is networking."

The Dubai meetings also offered a rare chance for Israeli and Arab officials to socialise in a Gulf country, with Bank of Israel governor David Klein attending. While the United Arab Emirates, which includes Dubai, has no diplomatic relations with Israel, Israelis entered the country on special IMF visas.

At the party thrown by Arab Banking Corp on Sunday night at the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, the Libyan-Kuwaiti bank erected two air-conditioned tents and set up "caviar stations" with beluga and sevruga varieties. Two other tables held freshly sauteed foie gras, while others had lobster, prawns, hummus and stuffed grape leaves.

Docked on the waterway outside the tents was a cigar-bar dhow stocked with Cuban Montecristos. A quartet of a harp and three violins serenaded the crowd with such tunes as the love theme from the film Titanic, "My Heart Will Go On".
 

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Anti-tobacco campaigns have given people the wrong image about smoking cigars, said Lance Powers, a sophomore accounting major.

Powers decided to give CU students another perspective on the cigar-smoking culture, which is how the Havana Club began.

"The focus of the club is not just on cigars, but the culture around them," Powers said.

The club was formed last year by Powers, Kirk Macklem, a senior management major; Eric Bontrager, a junior MCD biology major; and Matt Dufraine, a CU graduate.

Macklem and Bontrager met when they were smoking cigars outside of their residence hall. They then met Dufraine, and through a casual acquaintance, the three met Powers.

Powers said he grew up with a father who was a cigar enthusiast. Bontrager, however, started smoking when he turned 18.

"When you turn 18, you buy a cigar, buy a porno, and I tried a cigar and really liked it," Bontrager said.

After they decided to form a cigar club, Powers, Macklem and Bontrager wrote to various universities to see how other cigar clubs began. Not many success stories were found.

"Most didn't last long because it's a true passion to have it in your lives," Powers said.

The club decided to blaze its own trail.

With the help of Dufraine, an employee of Barlow's Premium Cigars and Pipes, an agreement was made: the Havana Club would hold its meetings at Barlow's on Arapahoe Avenue and 95th Street. Barlow's agreed to hold the Havana Club's meetings in the store's smoking lounge in exchange for business.

"The agreement is, as long as they come in once a month and buy some cigars once in a while, it's OK," said Barry Blonder, co-owner of Barlow's. Equipped with leather couches, mahogany wood tables, satellite television, card games and Cuban dominos, Barlow's provides a suitable mood for the club.

"We chose Barlow's because it's not just a regular cigar shop like others in Boulder," Powers said. Barlow's involves the culture around cigar smoking that not many people realize it exists, he said.

Blonder, a cigar enthusiast, encourages the club to not just smoke cigars, but learn about the history, too.

"They learn about the whole process from when they are planted as a seed to when they are roped and boxed and sent out," Blonder said. "Also, they learn the process of making cigars; the cultures of where the cigars are made, Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic; and the culture of those people," Blonder said.

Since the club began, Bontrager said he has learned that choosing a cigar is like choosing a wine.

"There are an immense amount of things that go into a cigar: different rolling techniques, different aging techniques, different ingredients," he said. "Some leaves are grown near fruit and nut plants that influence the tobacco because the different oils seep into the tobacco."

Every month, a different cigar is chosen by trio of men who call themselves the tri-executives. At the meeting, each member will have a chance to smoke the chosen cigar and receive a 10 percent discount at the store during the meeting. "They receive discounts because they are an established club and they come in frequently," Barlow said. "CU students usually get a little bit of a discount because I know how it was in college."

After learning about the different types of cigars, Macklem said he can tell the difference between a good and a bad cigar.

"I got away from the candy cane cigars, the flavored ones and into the more sophisticated ones. It's like going from Skoal vodka to Grey Goose."

Reece Sathoff, a freshman open-option major, said he read about the club in a guide given to him at orientation. When the first meeting rolled around in September, he took the JUMP bus to Barlow's and met the club there.

"It was my first time smoking a good cigar. I didn't know anything about cigars; I didn't even know how to cut the end of a cigar," Sathoff said. "It was fun. We sat around in plush leather chairs and burned down these fatty cigars for an hour and a half. After smoking the cigars, we went and smoked grape-flavored tobacco from a hookah."

"We've had three guys who had never even smoked a cigar before the meeting, and they loved it," Bontrager said.

Smoking is a well-known dangerous risk to health. Havana Club members take this into consideration.

"In the back of my mind, I think I shouldn't start smoking cigars every day," Sathoff said. "So I just smoke with the cigar club every couple of weeks." "I believe that there are a lot of risks we take in life, but as long as the benefits outweigh those, you have to do what you like," Powers said.

"We do address the fact that it is a health risk, but it isn't the sole focus. We want to teach people about cigars," Bontrager said. Members realize that there is a health risk, but that's a risk we're all willing to take." Cigar smoking has a long history. It is believed to have originated in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, and was cultivated by the Mayan people, the word cigar originated from the Mayan word 'sikar,' meaning 'smoking.'

According to havanarepublic.com, Christopher Columbus discovered the Central American tradition of smoking tobacco. In the 1820s, the British imposed a sales tax on tobacco, smoking cars on trains were introduced, and the tuxedo evolved as the smoking jacket. Thirty years later, the cigar box and cigar band came into use in Havana, Cuba. In 1919, cigar smoking reached the U.S. population in mass quantities. In 1962, before the Cuban embargo, President John F. Kennedy, an avid cigar smoker, had his aides quietly buy up all the legal Cuban cigars in Washington, D.C.

Members of the CU Havana club pay $50 at the beginning of each semester; the dues go toward purchasing cigars. Powers, Bontrager and Macklem also hope to save enough money to fund charity events.

"We want to set a precedent for future members to be able to take the club even further," Bontrager said.

The club has no active list of members and is open to anyone over 18. Meetings are every other Friday at 7 p.m. in Barlow's.
 
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