The tobacco industry has spent an inconceivable amount of money glamorizing smoking over the years. Back in the day, tobacco companies offered us ads such as these—
playing on sex appeal
or even targeting keen, young tastes.
Tobacco advertising has of course become much more ridged over the years as the EU and the WHO have both specified that it shouldn’t be allowed. More recently, some countries have also imposed legal requirements on tobacco packs.
Last month, Australia drafted laws that would ban branding of any kind from tobacco packaging; these laws are unprecedented anywhere in the world. This new regulation will prohibit cigarettes from displaying any logos, branding, colors, and promotional text. It will standardize color, font, and size of type and force mandatory health warnings on 75% of the front and 90% of the back of packaging. All packaging will be forced to have an olive green base color (research has shown smokers find this color least attractive on packaging). Removing the brand display and replacing it with a standard green package and images of rotting human gums and lungs will make this the toughest anti-tobacco campaign in the world.
The idea behind this law is obviously to deter current and new smokers from smoking—essentially removing the glamour. And boy, does it ever—
These regulations are striking up major rebuttals from cigarette makers as they claim there is no evidence that removing the branding from packaging will have any impact on the sale of cigarettes.
You don’t need a marketer to tell you that a winning brand can boost sales for just about anything, so we found this argument especially interesting. Although it may take a great deal of time to recondition those who already smoke, it will be interesting to see if removing all forms of branding will decrease cigarette sales. Particularly in youth smokers, who are considered the most at risk towards the persuasion of good packaging / branding of tobacco products.
These laws will be effective January 1, 2012. Canada, Britain, and New Zealand have shown interest in following suite, but only the results will tell how other nations proceed. See the full story here.
Do you think removing cigarette branding and standardizing packs will have an effect on tobacco sales?