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Last year a coalition of public health groups succeeded in convincing the Australian government to end the country's historic system of taxing cigarettes by weight and to replace it with the near-universal practice of taxing per stick. There were considerable financial benefits to government in switching to a stick-based system, although the federal treasurer announced the decision as being health-based. The weight-based system had produced a situation where the three tobacco companies reduced the size and weight of cigarettes to fit them into a variety of pack sizes (20s, 25s, 30s, 35s, 40s, and 50s) with considerable variation in price per stick allowing them to target low-income groups, including children.
With point-of-sale (in-store) advertising being all that remains in Australia, one company—the BAT-owned WD & HO Wills—is attempting to continue the “size matters” pitch to its customers. With its advertising agency drawing on the most subtle double entendre, the top figure shows an appeal for the Horizon brand to what the market research undoubtedly uncovered as Australian male smokers' concern about the size of their “wedding tackle”.
The bottom figure shows a spoof advertising campaign for the more aptly named Notrizon that Tobacco Controlunderstands will be seen on Australian billboards in the months ahead.