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Nicotine pouch marketing strategies in the USA: an analysis of Zyn, On! and Velo


Introduction Nicotine pouches are gaining popularity, yet their marketing is understudied.

Methods Using Numerator advertising data from January 2019 to September 2021 regarding three popular brands of nicotine pouch in the USA—Zyn (by Swedish Match, introduced in the USA in July 2016), On! (Altria, August 2016) and Velo (RJ Reynolds, July 2019)—we examined (1) general advertising characteristics (eg, media type, year); (2) ad content (ie, headlines and imagery themes); (3) prominent media channels (ie, specific websites, magazines, etc); and (4) ad expenditures.

Results There were 286 unique ads (Zyn: 44.4%; On!: 2.8%; Velo: 52.8%), 119 143 occurrences (Zyn: 3.5%; On!: 0.5%; Velo: 96.0%) and $24 774 650 total expenditures (Zyn: 4.7%; On!: 0.6%; Velo: 94.7%). The greatest proportion of ad occurrences and expenditures were accounted for by radio (75.9% and 28.2%, respectively) and television (16.2% and 56.5%), followed by mobile (0.5% and 7.2%) and online display (6.7% and 3.6%). Across ad occurrences and expenditures, prominent headline themes included ‘freedom’ (26.0% and 17.1%, respectively), ‘brand’ (9.6% and 18.6%) and ‘flavour’ (16.4% and 7.6%); images mainly featured the product alone (61.4% and 56.1%), text (16.2% and 24.6%) or men (8.7% and 8.6%); and prominent channel themes were entertainment (34.7% and 37.3%), news/weather (14.3% and 21.7%), business/finance (12.9% and 9.0%) and sports (9.5% and 1.0%). Zyn and On! prioritised online display and print; Velo prioritised radio and television. Zyn’s and Velo’s headlines focused on ‘freedom’, with Zyn also emphasising ‘brand’ and Velo ‘innovation’; On!’s headlines emphasised ‘flavour’.

Conclusions Regulatory efforts must be informed by surveillance of nicotine pouch marketing and impacts on consumer subgroups (eg, young people).

  • advertising and promotion
  • harm reduction
  • non-cigarette tobacco products
  • surveillance and monitoring
  • tobacco industry

Data availability statement

Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available.

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