Fresh information has surfaced lately about the activities of Big Tobacco companies in markets over the developing world. One investigation by Reuters news agency revealed the facts of how Philip Morris International has been targeting young adults, teenagers and the younger generation in India through colourful advertising and promotions at night clubs and parties in large cities like Delhi. In Uganda, British American Tobacco has won the best battle to limit the expansion of health alerts on packets and point-of-sale displays.
For those who have studied a brief history of the tobacco industry, these tactics will come as no surprise. In the developing world, Big Tobacco seemingly is replicating the advertising strategies which it first performed in countries like Britain more than 60 years ago.
Public health efforts in Traditional western countries have proved effective in changing the regulation and stubbing these away – and subsequently improving the decline in smoking rates. It is this experience that has made some tobacco companies so determined to fight against similar public health procedures in the developing world.
A historical perspective, then, can be useful in illuminating their strategies, aiding to make clear why the tobacco industry is so protective of its marketing activities.
Introducing researching the market
Cigarettes are a fairly standardized product. Right now there are only a few properties that can be altered to distinguish one brand from another, which explains why advertising is so important. It’s through marketing and advertising that different brands distinguish themselves about what remains a crowded industry.
Data from OECD Factbook 2013.
This was especially apparent in the UK in the 1950s and 1960s, when the United kingdom tobacco industry resumed advertising cigarettes following a calm down, quiet, quieten in sales during the period of rationing that trailed World War 2. Powered by the growing techniques of researching the market, tobacco companies started out tailoring their promotions to specific demographics.
In particular, studies of the reasons of consumers in the mid-1950s emphasized essential young people were for cigarette manufacturers. Market research for Imperial Tobacco, for example, found that: “The maintenance and stability of the cigarette market hinged in large measure on the regular recruitment of youth (age 15-23, roughly) to the cigarette smoking habit. ”
To accomplish this, admen suggested a host of advertising themes and marketing promotions that they thought would charm to young people. They will talk about a brandname having a particular “atmosphere” or “identity”, and marketing activities were designed to improve this.
For instance, the tobacco manufacturer WD & HO Wills introduced a new filter-tipped brand in 1960, Strand cigarettes. Advertising campaigns featured a lone shape – the Strand man – stalking in relation to city at night time , smoking. The tag line went: “You’re never alone with a Strand.”
Loneliness, and the advice that Strand cigarettes could help you overcome it, were emphasized in the campaign because it was believed this will resonate with young people. Researching the market at the time revealed that youth was a time of heightened low self-esteem, with young people socializing and going out more as they entered the adult world. The advertising presented Strand cigarettes as a foil to this – a social brace to occupy yourself with when social situations became awkward or else you} found yourself alone.
Sell Cigarettes to the young
Furnished with this knowledge of young people and the social practices tobacco companies also started out supporting their ad promotions by running promotions, which took place at various commercial leisure venues. Another instance, in support of their Bachelor cigarettes brand, John Player & Sons ran a competition in the early 1960s which created at Mecca Dance halls up and down the country.
Dubbed the “Ideal Bachelor Competition”, contestants and their dance partners could earn prizes of cigarettes and money by dancing the “Bachelor Quickstep” and giving an answer to several questions. All participants had to be be under 40, and a panel of six young women picked the winner, basing their decision on the “Qualities of an Ideal Bachelor”. These included qualities you might expect, such as having a “bright and cheerful personality”, “a smart appearance” and a “good steady job”.
Events such as this provided a tobacco companies a way to promote their brand and skirt normal rules of advertising.
The tobacco industry focuses on young people because they’re impressionable. Their product and brand preferences are not yet set, and they tend to be ready to experiment. Companies need new generations of people who smoke to sustain sales,
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