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Tobacco packaging as promotion
Almost 20 years ago it was suggested that restrictions in tobacco advertising would only be partly successful as the ‘pack itself is a powerful form of advertising’.1 These words have proved prescient as the pack has indeed emerged as the primary marketing tool in jurisdictions with tight marketing controls. In the UK, for instance, following the introduction of the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act between 2003 and 2005, which banned all forms of tobacco advertising and promotion, the pack has became the main marketing driver.2 Moodie and Hastings2 explain how UK tobacco industry marketing documents from between 1995 and 2000 both predicted the increasing importance of the pack in the face of marketing restrictions and highlighted the different ways the pack can be employed to promote the product, via what they refer to as value, image and innovation (or gimmick) packaging. Value packaging is used to communicate value via altered pack size (for instance, packs containing 24 cigarettes rather than the standard 20) or price-marking (which displays the price of the cigarettes on the pack, see figure 1). Both altered pack size and price-marking, most evident for value and economy brands, are used to communicate value to the consumer although they are not necessarily indicative of reduced price relative to other …
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