Background Despite marketing prohibitions, tobacco company marketing expenditures in the USA have continued to grow with tobacco companies shifting focus towards point-of-sale-marketing and direct marketing to consumers through the mail and on the web. The purpose of this observational study was to investigate the content of direct marketing sent in response to registrations on select industry websites.
Methods An analysis of 659 tobacco company direct mail marketing pieces received between July 2011 and June 2012 was conducted. Mailings were coded for type and value of tobacco coupons, type of tobacco products promoted with coupons and number and type of giveaways offered.
Results The most common type of mailing was tobacco coupon distribution; 86.5% of the mailings contained at least one coupon. Mailings with coupons had an average estimated coupon value of $4.17. The total coupon value of each mailing varied by the type of coupon offer and product promoted. The Camel and Marlboro coupon mailings heavily promoted snus, with over half of Camel coupon mailings (60.9%) and nearly half (44.8%) of Marlboro coupon mailings promoting snus alone. In addition, 47.9% of Marlboro coupon mailings and 11.4% of Camel mailings promoted snus alongside cigarettes.
Discussion Tobacco companies use direct mail marketing to communicate with consumers and provide valuable tobacco coupons. More research is needed to understand the content of these mailings and how they are used by tobacco consumers in order to develop effective policy solutions.
- Advertising and Promotion
- Tobacco Industry
- Non-Cigarette Tobacco Products
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