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Marketing Tobacco. Targeting youth Targeting women Targeting minorities Targeting consumers in developing countries. Targeting Youth: The Tobacco Settlement. 1998 tobacco settlement $100’s of millions in damages health costs paid by medicaid smoking related illnesses Marketing practices

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Marketing Tobacco

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Marketing Tobacco

  • Targeting youth

  • Targeting women

  • Targeting minorities

  • Targeting consumers in developing countries

Targeting Youth: The Tobacco Settlement

  • 1998 tobacco settlement

  • $100’s of millions in damages

    • health costs paid by medicaid

    • smoking related illnesses

  • Marketing practices

    • Focus on youth market

1. Targeting Youth2. Cartoon characters

  • 1975 memo to RJ Reynolds Vice President:

    • “The Camel Brand must increase its share of penetration among the 14-24 age group…which represents tomorrow’s cigarette business”

  • 1973 memo, senior researcher:

    • “If our company is to survive and prosper, over the long term, we must get our share of the youth market.”

  • Other memos describe success of Joe Camel in France and subsequent creation of character in the U.S.

  • 1986 memo noted how US Joe Camel campaign would utilize “peer acceptance/influence” to “motivate the target audience to take up cigarettes.”

  • RJ Reynolds had done research on brand preference by 14 year olds

    • Claimed was for planning, not marketing

    • stated it never marketed to children

  • Document indicated company marketed to 13 year olds

    • Claimed was a typo

    • should have said 18 year olds


  • Bans use of cartoons in advertising, promotion, packaging or labeling

  • Prohibits targeting youth in advertising, promotions, or marketing

  • Bans industry actions aimed at initiating, maintaining or increasing youth smoking

  • In 2000, marketing expenditures increased by 42% to $9.6 billion

  • Most of increase was in retail store marketing

  • Cigarette and smokeless tobacco brands increased advertising in youth-oriented magazines

    • Sports Illustrated and Rolling Stone

  • 2002, RJ Reynolds fined $20 million for continuing to advertise in youth-oriented magazines

  • 2004, Attorneys General sued Brown & Williamson (Kool)

    • “Kool MIXX 2004” promotion

  • Focus on hip-hop music

  • Free interactive CD-Roms

  • Collectible bags, radios, lighters

  • Promotions appeared in

    • Spin, Vibe, Rolling Stone

Flavored cigarettes

  • Brown & Williamson recently introduced

    • Caribbean Chill; Midnight Berry; Mocha Taboo; Mintrigue

  • B&W claims intent is to lure current smokers from other menthol brands

  • Advertises in bars and clubs, magazines like Playboy and Vanity Fair

    • readership 85% adult

  • Advocates claim virtually all new smokers under 19

  • Brands aimed at smokers 21-30 will influence 12-17 market

3. Outdoor advertising

  • Bans all outdoor advertising, including:

    • billboards, signs and placards in arenas, stadiums, shopping malls and video game arcades

  • Limits advertising outside retail establishments to 14 square feet

  • Bans transit advertising of tobacco products

  • Advertising and promotions increased in convenience stores and other retail outlets

  • Two-for-one offers and other enticements particularly effective with kids because they

    • have less disposable income than adults

    • are more likely to be influenced by promotional items in convenience stores

4. Tobacco merchandise

  • Thirty percent of kids 12 to 17 years old--both smokers and nonsmokers-- owned at least one tobacco promotional item

    • T-shirts, backpacks, CD players

  • Settlement banned distribution and sale of apparel and merchandise with brand-name logos

5. Product placement and sponsorships

  • Bans payments to promote tobacco products in

    • Movies

    • television shows

    • theater productions or live performances

    • live or recorded music performances

    • videos and video games

  • Prohibits brand name sponsorship of

    • events with significant youth audience

    • team sports

      • football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer

  • Prohibits sponsorship of events where paid participants or contestants are underage

  • Limits tobacco companies to one brand name sponsorship per year

  • Bans tobacco brand names for stadiums and arenas

6. Free samples

  • "Samples encourage experimentation by providing minors with a risk-free and cost-free way to satisfy their curiosity"

  • Prohibits distribution of free samples except in facility or enclosed area where operator ensures no underage person is present

7. Gifts based on purchases

  • Bans gifts without proof of age

Targeting women

  • Philip Morris began targeting women and girls in 1968

    • “You’ve come a long way baby”

  • Six years later smoking initiation for 12-year old girls had increased 110%

  • Virginia Slims “Find your voice” campaign suggested connection between smoking and empowerment and attractiveness

Dakota cigarettes

  • While smoking was declining

    • rate among women was declining more slowly

    • Rate among young women was actually increasing

  • Link between income, education and smoking

    • Smoking rates higher among low-income groups and those with only high school education

  • Half of female smokers age 18-24 smoked Marlboro

  • Target market was “virile” young females with low-to-moderate incomes and modest educations

  • Profile of group:

    • Entry-level job

    • Spent free time at

      • tractor pulls, hot rod shows, watching television (especially Roseanne) and going to dance clubs and bars

  • Marketing plan called for

    • Promoting male strip shows

    • Giving away premiums:

      • washable tattoos

      • “hunk-oriented” calendars

      • his-and-her interlocking beer mugs

Targeting Minorities

Uptown cigarettes

  • Menthol

  • Package designed to be opened from bottom

  • Philadelphia was 40% black

  • Advertising was mainly in magazines and on billboards

    • Magazines were Ebony and Jet

    • Billboards mainly in black neighborhoods

    • Ads used African American models

  • Denied targeting African Americans

  • Targeted at current smokers

    • thus no increase in health problems

  • Patronizing and racist to assume African-Americans couldn’t make same adult decisions as any other racial group

    • i.e., whether to smoke and, if so, which brand to smoke

Menthol X

  • “It was just an X. Call us dense if you want, but it [the connection between the package and the film] didn’t occur to us”

Targeting consumers in developing countries

  • Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)

  • Treaty initiated by World Health Association (WHO)

  • Negotiations began in 1999

  • Objective:

    • “to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke”

  • Comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship

  • Prohibit misleading or deceptive terms on packages

    • “light”, “mild”, “low tar”

  • Implement effective measures to protect nonsmokers from tobacco smoke in public places

  • Implement health warning labels that cover minimum 30% of principle display area of each packet

  • Treaty becomes international law when ratified by 40 countries

  • As of April, 2004

    • 102 countries had signed

    • 9 countries ratified

  • As of April, 2005

    • 167 countries signed

    • 55 countries ratified

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