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From glass boxes to social media engagement: an audit of tobacco retail marketing in Indonesia


Objective To assess tobacco promotion intensity, retailer behaviours and tobacco company efforts to link retailer marketing to online channels.

Methods We completed an audit of tobacco advertisements and promotions at 1000 randomly selected cigarette retailers in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia that included an observation checklist, digital photos and structured interviews with retailers. We then calculated the tobacco promotion index for each retailer and made comparisons based on store types. Next, we conducted a photo analysis from 100 randomly selected retailers to explore links to online channels and other promotional cues to engage young people.

Results Mini-markets have both the highest total number of promotions and the highest indoor promotion index with a mean score of 5.1 and 3.7, respectively. Kiosks have the highest outdoor promotion index with a mean score of 1.6. Most of the retailers (98.9%) displayed cigarettes, more than half of kiosk retailers (54.8%) and mini-market retailers (56.3%) admitted selling cigarettes to young people, and 74% of kiosk retailers sell single stick cigarettes. We found links to online marketing, including two hashtags and a company website. Promotional materials also included youth-focused content such as English taglines, new products and small packs.

Conclusion Tobacco companies in Indonesia have strategically differentiated their advertisements based on retailer type and have bridged conventional retailer marketing to online channels. Reforming Indonesian tobacco laws to include bans on single sticks and small pack sales, point-of-sale advertising, including displays, and enforcement of laws on sales to minors is urgently required.

  • advertising and promotion
  • public policy
  • tobacco industry
  • low/middle income country
  • denormalization

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