Thank You For Not Smoking

In a win-win situation for Kelly Clarkson and her fans, the pop star’s Indonesian show will still go on – and a cigarette company is no longer sponsoring the gig.

The singer’s April 29 performance at the Tennis Indoor Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia, attracted controversy earlier this month with the news that the show was being sponsored by the popular Indonesian cigarette brand L.A. Lights. Billboards along the highway near Jakarta and ads on TV prominently featured the logo for L.A. Lights along with Clarkson’s face.

Promoter Adrie Subono of Java Musikindo said the sponsorship has now been pulled and the billboards will be taken down within one or two days. The ads on TV and other media will also be removed.

“There will be no [L.A. Lights] media promotion at the Kelly Clarkson concert,” Subono told The Associated Press, explaining that Java Musikindo reached a “final agreement” with cigarette company Djarum, the maker of L.A. Lights.

Photo: AP Photo
One of the L.A. Lights billboards set to be taken down. 

Anti-tobacco groups such as the U.S.-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids had made statements urging Clarkson to drop the L.A. Light sponsorship or to cancel the concert. Fans left messages on Clarkson’s Facebook page about the L.A. Lights ads and set up a website called to collect more messages about why the singer “should reject tobacco sponsorship.”

On Wednesday Clarkson responded to her fans and critics through a post on her personal blog. The former “American Idol” winner wrote that she wasn’t aware L.A. Lights was sponsoring the Jakarta show and that she is “in no way an advocate or an ambassador for youth smoking.”

Clarkson added that it was a “lose-lose situation” for her.

“Unfortunately, my only option at this point was to cancel the show in order to stop the sponsorship. However, I can’t justify penalizing my fans for someone else’s oversight. … I think the hardest part of situations like this is getting personally attacked for something I was completely unaware of and being used as some kind of political pawn.”

Although tobacco advertising is banned from U.S. airwaves and limited in other countries, tobacco is still king in Indonesia, one of the last countries that hasn’t signed the World Health Organization’s tobacco treaty. Smoking is a major problem for the world’s fourth most populous nation – 63 percent of all men admit to the habit and one-third of the overall are smokers. According to WHO, about 25 percent of Indonesian boys aged 13-15 regularly light up.

Two years ago Alicia Keys found herself in a similar situation when she discovered her Indonesian concert was sponsored by an affiliate of Philip Morris International. The singer took to the stage only after apologizing to fans and making sure the cigarette logo was taken out of her promotions.
Click here for the AP article. 

Click here for Kelly Clarkson’s blog, I Am Kelly.

Click here for the singer’s official website.