Adverts are used to promote consumer products among certain population subgroups and are geared towards ensuring brand loyalty and increase in its market share. By the use of specific themes aimed at particular audiences, the tobacco industry continues to maintain its market share despite the health risks associated with cigarette smoking. These adverts can be aimed at a certain age group, gender or race and are meant to elicit feelings of independence, maturity, sense of achievement and belonging as well as sexual appeal. These consumer marketing efforts espouse the basic principles of marketing strategies that help companies build customer loyalty through branding.
The production of tailored brand lines communicated through various media outlets ensures that the targeted subgroups are reached and keeps them hooked on their brand of choice. According to the National Cancer Institute, these efforts have encouraged smoking habits, led to building and maintaining brand loyalty, and curtailed efforts to cease smoking. Other design efforts aimed at maintaining brand loyalty include the new product design features that revolve around test, size, pricing techniques, and repackaging initiatives meant for particular market segments.
The cigarette ads promote vis-a-vis satisfaction, health, desirable associations, and brand loyalty.
According to the National Cancer Institute (2008), the tobacco industry has been ingenious in their advertising strategies aimed at reaching their target audience. Three common themes deployed to achieve this include customer satisfaction, alleviation of anxiety about health risks, and desirable associations.
Through the use of well-crafted lingua, smoking has been portrayed as refreshing, mild, and richly satisfying. For instance, the Barclay ad carries the theme ‘The pleasure is back’ and shows a well-dressed gentleman lighting up in the company of a lady. This message easily encourages impressionable youth to want to try Barclay cigarettes for it signifies a sense of achievement, seems to bestow coolness in the smoker and is the in-thing to engage in. Cigarettes like Camel have got ‘pleasure to burn’, salems’ has ‘as fresh as springtime’ among others and are all geared to expand their customer bases.
Cigarette smoking has been linked to lung cancer and other Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD) like emphysema and chronic bronchitis. This has led to sustained anti-smoking campaigns aimed at discouraging smoking habits. With this knowledge in mind, the tobacco industry has also raised to the occasion to ensure they do not lose out. In their ads, they have messages pertaining to the amount of tar and nicotine in their cigarettes and the use of filters to array fears of health hazards. For instance, Barclay ad says that their cigarettes are 99% tar free. With this message, smokers are ‘assured’ that cigarette smoking is harmless and is just as safe as quitting. This theme in cigarette ads emphasizes on ‘healthy’ cigarettes with special filters and reduced nicotine levels
Every ad is meant to convince the targeted audience of the benefits of consuming a certain product. Cigarette advertisements capture the essence of targeted marketing practices aimed at certain segment that the product wants to appeal to. The advert can convey a sense of liberty, independence, sexuality, sensuality, achievement, and a fashion statement too. Barclay ads display a lady drinking wine with a gentleman lighting up. They seem to have a nice time, with the message ‘the pleasure is back’. These messages suggest a sense of coolness and limitless possibilities of what a man can get if he smokes Barclay cigarettes. Over time, cigarette ads have featured men; they are depicted as knowing what they want in life. For instance, the Marlboro ad shows a macho, rugged and independent man, who loves his cigarette. The Virginia Slim cigarettes depict women as liberated, successful, and beautiful.
Other messages convey a sense of loyalty to the brand name of particular cigarettes. For example, the phrase ‘I’d walk a mile for a Camel’ tries to depict the superiority of a brand over their rivals. These ads at times come with promotional tokens for their faithful customers, and this goes a long way in ensuring that sales continue soaring. The introduction of different flavors also is aimed at ensuring the customer base is continuously hooked on the brand.
To ensure brand loyalty, many tobacco companies have established sponsorship deals that give them an extra edge in marketing their products. For instance, Virginia Slims has for a long time been associated with sponsoring professional women tennis tournaments and V Wear catalog and accessories. Other brands have been associated with other sporting activities; for example, Winston cigarettes have been linked with surfing, and Skoal with football leagues.