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Plain Cigarette Packaging Impacts

By Expert Author: Bernard Fowler

Certainly the ugly images on the cigarettes packs, the ancillary health campaign and the tax increase won’t have helped tobacco’s cause in Australia either but it’s interesting that Big Tobacco has chosen to fight standardised packaging, because it is the last sign of differentiation.

Worried tobacco company Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro, considers plain packaging as bringing the brand to the manufacturer of an effectively undifferentiated commodity. Worried in fact that this summer it introduced a one-month stealth campaign to mobilise a grassroots movement by smokers against encroaching regulation. Messages were placed inside Marlboro packets, directing smokers to a site acting as the community for Britain’s smokers.

Branding community may be the evidence that validates what we all know already but struggle to justify that brand is one of the most valuable assets a tobacco company has. The tobacco companies are rattled because even when prohibited from advertising, sponsorship and point-of-sale communications, they have until now been able to use their packaging to create a brand and communicate differentiation and visual distinction, which helps to attract new customers and increase sales.

The research in Australia shows that when cigarette brands are reduced to unified packaging and a plain text wordmark, consumer perceptions change and even taste is negatively affected.

Generally, now that the vice of smoking is being marginalised, the human race will turn to new ones. The two frontrunners over the next ten years have got to be overconsumption of fatty foods, and addiction to smartphones/smart-glasses, etc with the related impact of never again having any disconnected moments of your life.

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