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The Australian cigarette brand as product, person, and symbol
  1. S M Carter
  1. Correspondence to:
 Stacy M Carter
 School of Public Health, Room 128A Building A27, University of Sydney NSW 2006, Australia; cartershealth.usyd.edu.au

Abstract

Objective: To examine, for dominant Australian cigarette brands, brand identity (overriding brand vision), brand positioning (brand identity elements communicated to the consumer), brand image (consumers’ brand perceptions) and brand equity (financial value).

Design: Tobacco industry documents, articles from retail trade publications since 1990, and current brand advertising from retail trade publications were searched for information about Australian brands.

Results: Cigarette manufacturers benefit from their competitors’ brand equity as well as their own. The industry sees Australian smokers as far less brand loyal and strongly oriented to “low tar”. A few predominantly local brands dominate the market, with variation by state. Successful Australian brands exist in one of three categories: premium, mainstream, and supervalue. Their brand identity essence is as follows. Premium: quality. Mainstream: a good humoured “fair go” for ordinary Australians. Supervalue: value for money. All supervalue brand identities also include freedom, escape, mildness, an aspirational attitude, blue tones, and waterside scenes. Brand image and brand identity is frequently congruent, even when marketing is restricted, and brand image is generally more positive for a smoker’s own brand.

Conclusions: Tobacco control activities have undermined cigarette brand equity. Further research is needed regarding brand loyalty, low tar, and brand categories. Smokers may respond more positively to tobacco control messages consistent with the identities of their chosen brand, and brand-as-organisation elements may assist. Further marketing restrictions should consider all elements of brand identity, and aim to undermine brand categories.

  • Keywords: tobacco industry
  • Australia
  • brand
  • marketing
  • BATA, British American Tobacco Australia Limited
  • PMI, Philip Morris International
  • PML, Philip Morris (Australia) Limited
  • TAP Act, Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act
  • TPM, total particulate matter
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Footnotes

  • * Based on data from Retail World Annual Report 2001 and Australian Convenience Store News March/April 2002 Tobacco feature.

  • Internationally, in the mid 1980s, there was a move “away from classical image based brands to a wide variety of value for money offers” in cigarette marketing.9798 Australia is not the only market to have experienced a value orientation, but the mid 1970s Australian shift was notable for its size and scope at the time.

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