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While advertising bans severely restrict the capacity of the tobacco industry to promote its products, it is intriguing to consider how the millions of dollars the industry was previously able to roll out for print, electronic, billboard, and point of sale advertising campaigns is now being spent.
In Australia, all print, radio, and television advertisements are banned. Point of sale advertising is banned or being phased out in most jurisdictions, and only a handful of major international sporting events are able to be sponsored by the tobacco industry prior to a 2006 phase out.1 Yet the industry can still manage to spend tens of millions of dollars marketing its products. What do they spend this on? Insights were provided recently when advertising agency Belgiovane Williams Mackay (BWM) picked up the $A10 million account for the newest entrant into the Australian market, Imperial Tobacco,2 which controls just 16.5% of the market.3 BWM's advertising brief for Imperial was for “below the line” marketing activity, including point of sale material, packaging, events management, and relationship marketing.
Event promotion is a key strategy for tobacco companies to promote their products through displays, typically at glamorous party settings or popular events, often at adult venues, but always where teenagers or young adults are present in large numbers.
The brazen example described below involved an aggressive marketing strategy with an advertising agency that used the internet, leverage from non-tobacco brands, gifts with purchases of tobacco, and event based marketing (the sponsorship of young fashion designers' awards) as core strategies.
In March 1996, Philip Morris became the owner of a trademark called Waves.4 It was used to …