Huge Tobacco’s International Reach on Social Network
The industry that brought the world the Marlboro Male, Joe Camel and slogans like “Reach for a Lucky Instead of a Sugary food” has latched onto the selfie generation’s screens in an extremely adaptive way that skirts the advertising guidelines of old.
“What they are doing is a really efficient way to navigate existing laws to limit advertising to young individuals,” stated Robert V. Kozinets, a public relations professor at the University of Southern California, who led an international group of scientists analyzing the tobacco industry’s usage of social networks.
“The most surprising thing to me was the level of sophistication of these various worldwide networks. You get unbelievable projects, the similarity which I have actually never ever seen before.”
International public health companies are pushing back against tobacco business around the globe. Previously this month, Bloomberg Philanthropies selected three global proving ground to lead a new $20 million worldwide tobacco watchdog group called Stop (Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products), with partners in the United Kingdom, Thailand and France, that will partly focus on social marketing.
Dr. Kozinets’s work, paid for by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an advocacy group, analyzed social networks in 10 countries by searching for hashtags that connect to tobacco cigarette brand names.
By guaranteeing privacy, Dr. Kozinets’s scientists had the ability to speak with paid and unsettled “ambassadors” and “microinfluencers” to reveal the connection in between the tobacco business, their communications companies and social media posts on Instagram and Facebook.
The petition declares that Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Brands are targeting young American consumers with misleading social media marketing in violation of federal law. The petition gets in touch with the F.T.C. to stop the practices.
Numerous of the tobacco companies did not instantly react to ask for talk about the petition. A representative for Philip Morris International said on Friday afternoon that the business had yet to evaluate the documents and therefore might not comment.
According to Caroline Renzulli, who oversaw the project for the project, 123 hashtags associated with these companies’ tobacco products have been viewed 8.8 billion times in the United States alone and 25 billion times around the world.
Representatives of a few of the companies stated they market just to adult cigarette smokers and abide by the laws of nations where they sell their products. Jonathan Duce, a spokesperson for Japan Tobacco, said company-involved occasions were meant “to switch existing adult smokers to our brands from those of our competitors.”
“If smokers or vapers pick to share their social activity,” he included, “it is entirely their choice.”
Simon Evans, a spokesman for Imperial Brands, acknowledged that the company paid “popular opinion formers” to go to and publish social networks material about advertising occasions.
“Where this holds true, however, we make it clear to them they are not to publish top quality content,” Mr. Evans said.Some posts
use hashtags that are carefully linked to the brands: #lus or #likeus for Lucky Strikes, for instance. Other posts are more subtle, including cigarettes but no brand name, or appealing hashtags that indicate autonomy or independence: #YouDecide, #DecideTonight and #RedIsHere are popular ones associated with Marlboro as is #FreedomMusic for Winston.
In some cases the posts omit the cigarettes entirely, however mention upcoming parties and other occasions where cigarettes are promoted in huge screens and distributed. The party design colors often match those of a particular brand.The image listed below
is from Indonesia, where a pack of Dunhill cigarettes is a subtle prop. After a press inquiry, BAT said they would remove the post.