A smoker is extremely loyal to his brand. A smoker feels that the brand resembles him and he acts as if he resembles the brand. One of the biggest advantages with tobacco companies is it has a process of network marketing for free. Most of the people who smoke would’ve been taught how to smoke by other smokers. This is the way they have a sense of oneness and they feel happy as a part of a group like cigarette brothers. This is why I say ‘Every smoker is a marketer’.
Sometime ago, I had an argument with my friend over the packaging changes to cigarette packs to make people aware of the problems of smoking. Finally we decided that may be the tobacco companies will not let any changes be done in the packaging as any minor change is going to make the consumer conscious about smoking. But we were wrong.
Three months later, the Supreme court ordered for all cigarette packs to carry a ‘Smoking Kills’ pictorial warning which covers at least 40% of the front of the pack. I went to a few stores in Hyderabad and found that the retailers are displaying the cigarette packs on the other side, the side which doesn’t have the warning. This seems to be nice marketing gimmick by the retailers and the tobacco companies.
BRANDING THE CIGARETTE PAPER
For the ‘Smoking Kills’ campaign to be more effective, I think it should also be extended to the cigarette paper. I think we need to brand the cigarette paper with something that the consumers really cares for, wherein they don’t like it to be burnt as they smoke. The immediate question is: what is it? My answer is YOU. Yes, brand the cigarette paper with the word YOU vertically. As and when he smokes he will be burning the word ‘YOU’, which is a direct indication of what he is doing to himself by smoking. It may not be effective immediately, but gradually it makes a subconscious impact on the smoker. Unlike the picture on the cigarette pack, the smoker will be forced to see this text as long as he smokes the cigarette. Though I don’t have any proven results, I think this will be more effective at the subconscious level and it will more effective.
A smoker spends 99% of his time with the cigarette, not with the cigarette pack. Moreover when the text YOU is burning it actually makes a subconscious impact on the people. A smoker is very conscious about the anti-tobacco advertisements which makes life more difficult. If you are consciously ignoring something it is very difficult to make you do it consciously, which is how the anti-tobacco campaigns ask the smokers to quit. For the anti-tobacco campaigns to be effective, the best way is to attack the sub-consciousness.
WHAT THE TOBACCO COMPANIES SHOULD DO?
If you are a smoker or a marketer, ask yourself ‘What is the biggest and the most common problem for a smoker?’. Yes, lighting the cigarette is the biggest problem. So I feel the tobacco companies should provide the dotted striker material on one side of their packs, with a few match sticks in their pack. This removes the dependency of the smoker and it may actually make people prefer your cigarette pack. Many people who smoke don’t like to carry lighters, match-sticks or anything that would indicate that they smoke. This is the best solution to address such problems.
All the above views are completely my individual opinions. Thank you.