Remember the old give-aways for cigarettes? You buy a couple of packs, mail in the proofs of purchase and a couple of dollars, and your favorite cigarette brand would send you a t-shirt so you could provide them with free advertising. Cigarette brands have moved beyond that old-school mentality and into bigger giveaways and sweepstakes.
Take Marlboro cigarettes, for instance. They are now “the first brand to have a game app” for your mobile device, according to Trinkets and Trash. The more you play, the better your chance to win. If you aren’t addicted to their product, they will addict you in other ways. A current trend on television has been the cooking shows and contests. Not to be outdone, Marlboro held its own contest inviting participants to send in their BBQ sauce recipes for a chance to have the winning recipe bottled and distributed to other smokers. The winning entry is called “Desert Night” and those who participated in the Southwest Sizzle BBQ sauce challenge received a bottle of the winning sauce. When you run out of the sauce, just go to their website for the recipe. Hook smokers with your product, keep them hooked with giveaways and coupons to make buying a deadly product less painful, at least for the moment.
Not to be outdone, General smokeless tobacco products also made a pitch for the romantic in you this past Valentine’s Day with their “the best gifts come in dozens” slogan. Give your girl a dozen roses, get two dozen smokeless pouches for yourself. Yes, nothing says romantic like a mouthful of that wonderful smokeless spit when you go to kiss your date. Grizzly invites you to “link to their website to have a discourse with fellow dippers about the current ‘Tellin’ it like it is’ topic”. No, it’s not a talk about the dangerous health effects of using smokeless, it’s a discussion about whether a bowl of chili or gumbo will beat the cold. Other discussion topics in February included road racing vs oval track, and your picks for the Super Bowl. By having smokeless users connect with other users, they are less likely to quit the product. But you have to admit, Grizzly is “tellin’ it like it is” by posting a large, eye-catching warning at the bottom of their advertisement warning about mouth cancer. Skoal is celebrating its 81st anniversary by reducing prices at the stores in celebration. Let’s hope users are still around to blow out their own candles.
MarkTen e-cigarettes is coming out with a new product with “two times the liquid and battery strength” of their product currently on the market. And get ready for their new flavors Fusion and Winter Mint. The MarkTen product has self-contained cartridges with pre-measured liquid so you can just to swap out the old and when you add a new charge kit, you will always have one available for use. Vuse has four new flavors (Crema, Chai, Rich Mint and Mint) being test marketed in Colorado and Utah. These flavors are so new there isn’t any advertising for them yet. Exactly what age group are they marketing to with “crema and chai?” Blu cigarettes came up with “5 things NOT to do with a blu electronic cigarette,” one of which is “don’t be a jerk/jerkette” and use your e-cigarette in places you can’t smoke a tobacco cigarette (like in the middle of a grocery store). Blu also had a “Share the Blu Love Giveway” where you could have the chance to win two rechargeable kits. They also let their customers know that there are 400 puffs in each one of their disposable e-cigs which may impress you, until you do the math and realize it is the equivalent of 2 packs of cigarettes. If you aren’t a pack a day smoker, having this device in your hand all day could prompt you to draw on the nicotine more, not less, and making quitting your nicotine habit more difficult. That nice dark color of the product also makes it easy to hide in your child’s school backpack.
As with any advertising, take tobacco advertising with a grain of salt and see it for what it is. The tobacco industry is out to promote a product you don’t need and may die sooner from using it.
All ads and pictures came from the Trinkets and Trash Surveillance Update – February 2015.