There is a topic that has been puzzling me for some time now.

I am well used to the Tobacco Control Industry spouting their little soundbites.  They wiffle on about half of all smokers dying [what do the rest do?], how smoking kills X thousand people a year [fill in the number of your choice] and all the other little snippets that they invent at their conventions.  They trot them out so glibly that they must practice them every night and make a mental note to slip one of them in every third or fourth sentence.

The one that confuses me though is their dogged insistence that Big Tobacco are constantly dreaming up new ways to attract children into buying their brands.


Let's say for arguments sake that a tobacco company introduces a new brand called Disney.  Its pack is all slinky and pink and curved with an image of Mickey Mouse on it.  Its slogan is "Sooth that toddler's croup" and the company goes into full production.

Where does it go from there?

They can't advertise this new brand, as all advertising in any shape or form is banned.  So no glossy images in magazines, on the cinema screen or on television.

The new packs are concealed behind "the wall of shame" in all shops so the kids can't see the new packs there.

So that leaves just one area open – the pack lying around at home or in the hand of a smoker in the street.  We can discount the smoker in the street as the kids may notice the pack but won't be able to go any further.  Unless they approach the smoker and start asking questions about the brand then they probably aren't even going to see the name or slogan.  And anyway they can't barge into a shop and demand the new brand as presumably they will be refused, so that just leaves the pack lying around the house that mammy or daddy have left lying around.

But why would mammy or daddy leave a pack of Disney lying around when they don't know of its existence either?  Because of the ban on advertising, the grown ups are completely unaware of any new brand so presumably are going to carry on asking for their Marlborough or Rothmans as they have always done.

Herself likes Silk Cut so when I am buying, I ask for Silk Cut [I was once approached by Mensa].  I don't go into the shop and ask if there any new brands she should try.  I don't ask to see the pack first.  Most shops now use a dispensing machine so when I ask for Silk Cut, they press a button [coincidentally marked “Silk Cut”] and out pops the pack.  Since all these bans came in, the design of the pack has changed three times but I only became aware of it after I had made my purchase.  There could be fifty new brands in there but I don't and can't know about them.

So a serious question – how exactly are the tobacco companies "targeting kids"?

I would dearly like to know.


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Targeting the children — 9 Comments

  1. I'm quite surprised the Nannys haven't brought law in to say you need to lock your smokes up at home as if they were guns and register with the state with a form in triplicate that you do smoke and may be a repeat offender in smoking again. Arses! (nannys not you)

    • It wouldn't surprise me if they did.  There again, if all packs were locked up, no one would see the medi-porn they're bringing out.

    • That is the only logical conclusion I can come to as well.  How else could you have invisible advertising?  The very fact that they say tobacco is being advertised is sufficient for the kids to all light up.

  2. Tobacco Control live in a parallel world where up is down, black is white, every smoker would love to be a non-smoker, extortionate taxes don't encourage a black market, millions die every year from getting a whiff of someone's cigarette, 'Glitzy' packaging makes everyone want to go out and buy loads of packets of fags, all smokers love being turfed out of the pub if they want a smoke and "WE ARE TOBACCO CONTROL, AND WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU BECAUSE WE ARE CARING, COMPASSIONATE PEOPLE WHO ONLY WANT THE BEST FOR YOU."

    And they wonder why they are universally despised by people who have more than one functioning brain cell..


    • Apart from the question I posed above, I am also baffled as to why people can't see this obvious flaw in the argument.  The next time a Puritan spouts about advertising to kids, just ask "How?"

    • ….and what kind of mental process is at work to see nothing flawed in the 'doors of shame' hiding the mediporn that TC wants to be prominent on "plain" packs such that The Children recoil in horror? 

  3. On live radio many times I have debated just this point with the puritan fanatics. They refer to the packaging as advertising, simple as that. I am dismissed as gullible when I correct them and call it by its right name, "Branding." 

    As with every other area of commercial competition, the brands are fighting each other for market share, not advertising/fishing for new business. 

    Incidentally, are these new "Disney Fags" really good for a cough? What have you heard about them and where can I try them?

    • Next time, ask them where the kids are supposed to see the packaging/branding.  The ony time I ever see it is after I have bought it.

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