How do you market a product that can’t be marketed? Through warning labels of course.
This brilliant warning label can be now found in ciggy packs in the Hong Kong market. It’s a class example of “things everyone can learn from tobacco marketers”. There are few things that make this an amazing tactic.
1) The image that stands out is that of an youthful beauty and perfect complexion of the woman in the front, thus sending a message which is totally contradictory to the warning text
2) Courtesy of my wonderful head of research Debbie Ko, I’ve learned that Asians respond well to health messages that are related to their collective responsibility (for example becoming a burden to their family) and badly to messages that are related to individual responsibility
3) In a Greater China market, using such images have a strong element of nostalgia, and even Don Draper loves a bit of nostalgia
4) Similar look n feel (of the woman) was used for decades by the Chinese tobacco industry to advertise cigarettes (who doesn’t love a bit of blush on a woman’s cheek)
While it’s undeniably clear that the tobacco marketers are geniuses, how stupid does the regulator have to be in order for something like this to slip through. Or how corrupt.
Assuming based on the soaring revenues of the big tobacco (minus Philip Morris who went through a series of corporate re-structure) the labels are not stopping people from smoking, or new smokers from picking it up. So in a sense this is positive progress, I’m sure all the non-smokers rather see beautiful Chinese woman in the labels opposed to a malformed fetus.
Now that tobacco ads are gone from F1 Grand Prix (pitstop babes) for good, and all we have left are the tobacco hostess in their short skirts venturing the nights reminding casual smokers and quitters about the delights of cigarettes, it’s refreshing to see more beauty find its way back to tobacco.