Project Sunrise, initiated in 1995 and proposed to continue through 2006, was a long-term plan by Philip Morris to slow tobacco industry delegitimization and ensure the long-term social acceptability of smoking and of the company itself.
Project Sunrise was a scenario-based strategy exercise used to determine the best strategic options that PM could apply in a variety of future legislative, regulatory and social scenarios facing the company. PM started Project Sunrise in 1995, and the exercise ran for one year. Documents about Project Sunrise reveal that PM considered public health advocacy groups to be their competitors. In the project, PM laid out an explicit divide-and-conquer strategy against the tobacco control movement, proposing to establish relationships with groups it identified as "moderate" tobacco control individuals and organizations. PM planned to limit the sources of funding going to public health advocacy groups, use carefully orchestrated efforts to exploit existing differences of opinion within tobacco control, and weaken its opponents by working with them. PM also planned to thwart tobacco industry delegitimization by repositioning itself as a "responsible" company (See PM 21).
Other SourceWatch Resources
Tobacco industry documents
- Ellen Merlo 1997 speech describing Project Sunrise
- Sunrise Meeting, December 12th and 13th, 1995
- Nancy Lund Revised Strategies and Actions Presentation May 1995 presentation, (mentions Sunrise Team).
- Discussion Draft of Potential Events and Scenario Possibilities, July 1997 PM report, filed under "Sunrise"
- No title. 269-page Philip Morris presentation dated October, 1999 discussing Project Sunrise, found in Ellen Merlo's stored files.
- Anti-tobacco Industry Plan, undated Philip Morris presentation
- Patricia A. McDaniel, (University of California, San Francisco), Elizabeth A. Smith (University of California, San Francisco) and Ruth E. Malone (University of California, San Francisco), "Philip Morris's Project Sunrise: weakening tobacco control by working with it", Tobacco Control, 2006; 15:215-223. (This is a link to the abstract).