date /
Friday 2 September 2011

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If ever you needed evidence of the power of brand, have a look at how tobacco companies are reacting to plain packaging laws.

I think their argument about protecting their intellectual property only goes a small way to explaining their extreme reaction of threatening to sue the Federal Government.

I think they understand that this goes well beyond not being able to adequately compete with other brands of cigarettes. I think they realise that people will stop smoking altogether.

Let's face it, the act of smoking cigarettes is irrational in the first place. There is no benefit to the smoker. And on the other side of the equation, it is highly addictive and dangerous.

In my view, smokers risk their health to be associated with a brand. Even is a post-advertising world, brand values are still coming through.

There are brands for sophisticated smokers and there are brands for bogans.

Without putting too fine a point on it, I would expect that most of the cigarette packets stuffed in the sleeves of tee-shirts would be the same brand.

The branding is the visual language that smokers use to identify their tribal allegiance – It's about belonging and this is represented by the badge of brand.

Take away the brand and you take away the visual symbol of belonging.

Without that, the act of smoking becomes next to useless – even for people who don't care about their health.


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