The television ads by the 'Alliance of Australian Retailers' depicting battling shop-keepers crying foul over government plans to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes have been revealed as a sham, all part of an exercise cooked up by the tobacco industry in cahoots with a PR firm known as The Civic Group.

The exposé shows again just how grubby the advertising-marketing-PR complex can be. But you wouldn’t know it from the ABC’s paean to the advertising industry, The Gruen Transfer. The popular TV show sells itself as "a show about advertising, how it works, and how it works on us", except it’s hard to see how it has done anything useful other than provide half an hour of light entertainment.