Stakeholders at Tobacco Sponsored Music Events

The music scene in Yogyakarta is booming, and the tobacco industries who have a blatant yet denied obsession with youth advertising find this scene to be the perfect grounds to plant the seeds of their brand (Agato, AW, 2018). This includes various modes of advertising at the events through sponsorship which creates a complex relationship, as the companies are supporting the events with large payments. This helps them to exist and survive, yet markets dangerous products to the audience (Ketchell, 2018). Sponsorship usually looks like tobacco branding displayed on all festival/event posters, billboards and promo girls handing out free cigarettes. As well as online marketing in the form of website links and even through Instagram. Instagram is a problematic mode as there is no real way to bypass age restrictions, young people from all over the world are able to see the images and content through hashtags and links (Astuti, Assunta, & Freeman, 2018).

Local and international artists play at these events and it can still be unclear as to how much the musicians themselves are involved with the tobacco companies. Many deny having known the event was sponsored by tobacco industry. Kelly Clarkson visited Indonesia for a festival in 2010 and sparked media outrage when it was discovered that the concert was sponsored by tobacco brand L.A Lights. Clarkson eventually dropped the sponsorship and we can speculate whether or not she really knew about the sponsorship in the first place or if it was dropped only due to media pressure.  Kelly Clarkson is not alone as many International and Australian bands still tour in Indonesia and frequent events which are sponsored by big tobacco (NBC Los Angeles 2010).

People like Kelly Clarkson are role models for many young people and they have an opportunity as creative culture makers to be a positive influence in this space. If large public figures are educated on the matter and have the power to say no to tobacco influence I their shows they have a way to positively influence their young audience. Almost all tobacco advertising plays on the ‘cool factor’ and if role models who young people define as cool, can be seen refusing the influence of tobacco this could be considered a form of design activism in the Yogyakarta region.


Agato, Y. AW, T. 2018, ‘Asias Experimental Music Scene is About to Explode’ , Vice Indonesia, viewed 20 Dec 2019, <;

Astuti, P., Assunta, M., & Freeman, B. (2018). Raising generation “A”: a case study of millennial tobacco company marketing in Indonesia. Tobacco Control, 27(e1), e41–e49.

Ellis, L. 2011, ‘Mormon Band Shuns Tobacco, Except in Indonesia’ Motherjones, viewed 20 Dec 2019, <;

Ketchell, E. 2018, ‘Tobacco company in Indonesia skirts regulation, uses music concerts and social media for marketing’ The Conversation, viewed 20 Dec 2019,  <;

NBC Los Angeles, 2010, Kelly Clarkson Sparks Smoking Debate As Tobacco Company Sponsors Indonesian Concert, viewed 20 Dec 2019,

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