Move Over Marlboro Man: Big Tobacco Is Now Turning To Social Media Influencers To Make Smoking Look Cool
Players in the industry skirt around marketing regulations with their connections to "ambassadors" and other social media influencers who have a wide reach to younger generations. Meanwhile, the FDA investigates whether the company that makes Juul e-cigarettes deliberately targeted teenagers with its marketing.
The New York Times:
Big Tobacco’s Global Reach On Social Media
It’s been years since the tobacco industry promised to stop luring young people to smoke cigarettes. Philip Morris International says it is “designing a smoke-free future.” British American Tobacco, likewise, claims to be “transforming tobacco” into a safer product. But while the Food and Drug Administration weighs plans to cut nicotine in cigarettes, making them less addictive, Big Tobacco has been making the most of the time it still has using social networks to promote its brands around the world. (Kaplan, 8/24)
The New York Times:
Did Juul Lure Teenagers And Get ‘Customers For Life’?
The leaders of a small start-up, PAX Labs, gathered at a board meeting in early 2015 to review the marketing strategy for its sleek new electronic cigarette, called Juul. They watched video clips of hip young people, posed flirtatiously holding Juuls. And they talked about the name of the gadget, meant to suggest an object of beauty and to catch on as a verb — as in “to Juul.” While the campaign wasn’t targeted specifically at teenagers, a former senior manager said that he and others in the company were well aware it could appeal to them. After Juuls went on sale in June 2015, he said, the company quickly realized that teenagers were, in fact, using them because they posted images of themselves vaping Juuls on social media. (Richtel and Kaplan, 8/27)
And in other smoking news —
The Associated Press:
Tobacco-Funded Group Starts Montana Anti-Initiative Ad Blitz
A group funded by the tobacco industry has launched a massive ad blitz against a ballot initiative to fund Montana's Medicaid expansion program and other health programs by raising the cigarette tax by $2 per pack and taxing vaping products for the first time. Montanans Against Tax Hikes booked air time starting in mid-August on television stations in Billings, Missoula, Butte and Bozeman, Great Falls, Helena and Glendive, according to purchase orders filed with the Federal Communications Commission records. (Volz, 8/24)