The recent "Indie Rock Universe" piece covered here on Punknews.org has been characterized as a big tobacco ad in the printed version. According to this story, the nine–page pullout in the Nov. 15 issue sponsored by Reynolds contained cartoon images which is forbidden by the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between 46 states and tobacco manufacturers.
The "ads" themselves were wrapped around the "Indie Rock Universe" feature which is more concerning because the bands quoted in the "advertorial" could be seen as an endorsement of cigarettes and at least one band was offended by their inclusion:
m in one of the bands name dropped in this fold out ad. Nobody , at any time contacted my band , label or publicist. We were never asked if we wanted to be mentioned in a cigarette ad or if we minded to have our music on The Farm website. We certainly were NOT compensated in anyway.
I personally don't smoke , nor do any of my bandmates. I already lost a parent to lung cancer and having my band associated in any way with Camel INFURIATES me. Camel doesn't care about indie music and neither does Rolling Stone. Both just want youth money and don't care what ethics they breech to get it.
Advertising agencies have been a little aggressive in using images in the past, with companies like Nike using Minor Threat artwork and Doc Martens using Nirvana and Joe Strummer in their ads. If the "advertorial" section is found to be an ad, this could open the door for lawsuits from any of the bands mentioned against both the tobacco companies and Rolling Stone itself.
You can check out the original presentation of the "feature" right here (large PDF). In the print version, the actual content occupied approximately 2 pages out of eight while the rest was devoted to large Camel ads.