Spot Big Tobacco’s Contradiction

ABC: Big tobacco bankrolls anti-Labor ad campaign

The big tobacco companies are fighting back against the Government’s plans to introduce plain cigarette packaging by funding small retailers in a massive advertising campaign timed to coincide with the final weeks of the election campaign.[…]

AAR spokeswoman Sheryle Moon says small businesses depend on cigarette sales.

Two street signs, the one on top says DO NOT ENTER, the one below says ENTER ONLY“Plain packaging is not a proven policy,” she said. “There’s no credible evidence that this policy will stop people smoking, that it will stop kids, young people, taking up cigarette smoking.

“It will just make it more difficult for retailers to do their business.”

So there’s no proof that it will lower either the number of people already smoking, or the number of people likely to take up smoking, but nonetheless it will make it more difficult for retailers.

I dunno – I thought that big tobacco would be thrilled to have expensive branding fripperies legislated away by the government, but maybe it’s just that the PR and graphics departments have had the company boards hypnotised for years, and this is just the proof?



Categories: health, Politics

Tags: , ,

11 replies

  1. Ah, but if you can’t see what brand the cool kids are smoking how do you know you’re choking on the right brand?

  2. I don’t see why they’d be thrilled at plain paper packaging legislation, obviously like any other company selling a product they think the packaging is an important part of the selling – ie, packaging comes at a price, but it allows them to earn far more than they would otherwise, certainly enough to pay for the packaging and make a profit besides.

    • Since they’re all now locked away in cabinets where the packs aren’t on display any more, surely any marketing advantage of visual branding of the packs themselves is almost entirely lost? What I see happening now is people walking up to the counter and asking for their brand of choice directly, no asking for the cabinet to be opened so they can look at what’s available, so how effective can visual branding on the pack possibly be?

    • Since they’re all now locked away in cabinets where the packs aren’t on display any more, surely any marketing advantage of visual branding of the packs themselves is almost entirely lost? What I see happening now is people walking up to the counter and asking for their brand of choice directly, not asking for the cabinet to be opened so they can look at what’s available, so how effective can visual branding on the pack possibly be?

  3. I’m not sure what the lock-up regulations actually are, but at our local supermarket, all the brands are clearly visible from the one register where you can buy cigarettes. They’re all arranged by brand. I can see why they wouldn’t want to lose that – and really, what distinguishes one brand from another other than the marketing?

  4. Whether cigarettes depend on brand packaging or not, the tobacco companies clearly think so, which makes their level of weasel words and doublespeak even more disingenuous than usual. Funny how they’re willing to spend so much money and champion small businesses even though the thing they’re fighting against doesn’t work.
    It’s not the current smokers they want, anyway – they know that once a smoker decides on a brand, they pretty much stick to it forever – but the new smoker, who hopefully will be seduced by the bright and attractive and/or cool packaging that appeals to them. Are you a Virginia Slims “come a long way, baby!” smoker, or a “Marlboro Man”? Big Tobacco wants new lungs, and how are they going to get them if the package doesn’t proclaim a smoker’s allegiance to Kool?
    (note: I cannot ever spell “allegiance” right the first time.)

  5. What I see happening now is people walking up to the counter and asking for their brand of choice directly, no asking for the cabinet to be opened so they can look at what’s available, so how effective can visual branding on the pack possibly be?

    Perhaps its when people have bought them and carry them around with them – eg get them out and leave the packet on the table for a while, etc. The users are walking adverts. Its possible the plain packaging laws may backfire a bit. There’s already covers available for cigarette packets to cover the warnings/picture of dead lungs etc on the packets. If they don’t have to spend money on branding for packets, they might end up subsidising/giving away branded covers, the content of which the government would not be able to regulate at all.

    • There’s already covers available for cigarette packets to cover the warnings/picture of dead lungs etc on the packets.

      It makes sense, but I hang around with so few smokers that I didn’t know that – the ones I do know are ‘effete’ types with fancy-schmancy cigarette cases.
      Interesting.

  6. attack_laurel: I misread that as “douchespeak” for a minute there. *facepalm*
    What interests me is how Big Tobacco is all involved in the LNP’s business. Very fishy to me.

  7. Croakey at Crikey points out that while Big Tobacco’s campaign against plain packaging is obvious doublespeak, the argument for plain packaging has no actual evidence to support its efficacy either.

  8. Interesting link, so its likely no one really knows if it will work and so a trial before doing a widespread implementation seems appropriate. But there’s one approach that the government knows always works – raise the tax on cigarettes. But you can’t do that too close to an election as it costs votes.

%d bloggers like this: