Is the Banning of Branded Cigarette Packaging a Testament to the Persuasive Power of Packaging?
The tobacco industry is under siege in so many countries around the world. Legislators have raised taxes, created ID cards, and banned advertising, but smokers still want their tobacco.
In the latest, and always futile effort to eliminate the habit of smoking, UK politicians are banning branded advertising on cigarette packaging. All cigarettes will be sold in plain packages starting in 2015 in the UK.
Here in Canada, our government has forced tobacco companies to display horrid images on the packages. They obligated retailers to store them in locked cabinets as though they were running a local pharmacy. Despite this, people still buy cigarettes and tobacco companies can now spend their advertising money on other ways.
$450 Million is a big investment but has the promotional effort been effective? What’s interesting is that tobacco companies will now have half a billion dollars to put into something else like social media and be even more effective in reaching its audience.
Promotion Just Divy’s up the Available Market
The ban on advertising and packaging tells us that the government believes advertising and POP promotion drive cigarette sales. Does it really drive it that much? Do they have statistical evidence? Has the total market grown?
The five major U.S. smokeless tobacco manufacturers spent $451.7 million on smokeless tobacco advertising and promotion in 2011, up from $442.2 million spent in 2010. That’s a big investment but has the promotional effort been effective? What’s interesting is that tobacco companies will have half a billion dollars to put into something else like social media.
They could ban tobacco next, which would lead to a black market and a whole lot more people going to jail. Probably not an ideal solution.
The point is that persuasively designed packaging may not be creating the desire to smoke. It merely draws smokers to a specific brand. Promotion may be the way competing brands carve up the available marketshare. What do you think? Is overall demand for a type of product a social thing and that advertisers compete for whatever natural market demand exists?
What Makes Packaging So Effective?
So, what is it about packaging that makes it so effective in establishing brand preference and driving a purchase?
Here’s an exerpt from George Davison’s blog:
“Most shoppers will look at a product for less than ten seconds, so you need to convince them to buy your product in that short amount of time…Packaging that is well-designed clearly communicates its product’s features and allows the product to be displayed in the best possible way to highlight those features.”
Packaging captures the consumer’s attention and conveys the products benefits quickly. It might be so fast in fact, that the message is faster than the consumer’s mind can take it in.
Can packaging make consumers buy more of a product than they really need or want? Of course, and it’s why packaging designers are so highly prized ─ they maximize sales.
Packaging works because it:
- Catches consumer’s attention
- Builds desire in the product
- Captures consumer’s imagination
- Conveys key benefits quickly
- Reinforces the brand message
- Differentiates from competitive brands
- Makes usage convenient
There are other “soft” benefits as well, and as a whole, they show how packaging is the product as far as many consumers are concerned.
Do you appreciate or even understand what’s really effective in your product packaging and POP displays? If not, check out our display design tips and take a look at some great retail displays.
Are your ready for mobile shopper retail phenomena? Is your site mobile friendly and ecommerce enabled? This is one of the most active areas of digital marketing going. If you’re interested in looking into a responsive web design, contact Ravenshoe Group.