Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Raising generation ‘A’: a case study of millennial tobacco company marketing in Indonesia
  1. Putu Ayu Swandewi Astuti1,2,3,
  2. Mary Assunta2,4,
  3. Becky Freeman2,3
  1. 1 School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Udayana, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia
  2. 2 School of Public Health, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3 Preventive Research Collaboration (PRC), Charles Perkins Centre, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  4. 4 South East Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA), Bangkok, Thailand
  1. Correspondence to Putu Ayu Swandewi Astuti, Preventive Research Collaboration (PRC), Charles Perkins Centre, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia; past4344{at}


Objective To describe the Sampoerna A [A] brand marketing techniques and practices and how event-based sponsorship leverages company websites and popular social media channels to reach and engage young people.

Method This case study was built from three main data sources. First, HM Sampoerna company reports, corporate websites and other online sources were reviewed. Second, four pairs of observers conducted an observation survey; systematically auditing and documenting tobacco promotion and advertising at the 2016 SoundrenAline concert. Finally, social media data were obtained from an iterative search of hashtags of Instagram posts. The 10 most frequently used hashtags related to the concert were reviewed and documented.

Results A brand marketing includes sponsorship of a music concert series, a limited edition A Mild cigarette package and promotion of virtual events on company websites and social media channels. Instagram boosted promotion with more than 25 000 posts for the two most popular hashtags endorsed during the concerts. Marketing activities targeted young people by focusing on creativity, freedom of expression and audience engagement. The corporate website ‘’ served as both a promotional medium and online community.

Conclusion Internet and social media channels are key to Sampoerna’s marketing strategy in Indonesia. Internet-based marketing run alongside conventional advertising likely increases Indonesian youth exposure to cigarette marketing. This case study also provides evidence that Sampoerna evaded current tobacco advertising regulations. Subnational governments can play a stronger role in restricting tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship by more effectively enforcing current regulation.

  • advertising and promotion
  • low/middle-income country
  • advocacy
  • tobacco industry

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Twitter @drayuswandew

  • Contributors PASA was involved in design and conception of the study, gathering and analysing the data, and drafting and editing the manuscript. MA was involved in drafting and editing the manuscript, and providing input on the Indonesian setting. BF was involved in the design and conception of the study, and drafting and editing the manuscript. All three authors agreed on the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding PASA received scholarship from Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP) for her PhD.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval There is no ethical approval required for the study because this case study retrieved information from Instagram posts and a company website which had been published in the public domain; and the observations of the concerts were conducted after purchasing tickets which provide legal entrance to the venues. All personal identifiers have been removed.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.