Brands Cannot Be Trusted

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Studies are utilized by advertising agencies to identify potential buying demographics. This information is then used to target specific markets and to learn about public attitudes, why they buy specific products, and what sort of promotions would most appeal to their desires to purchase. To some companies, marketing is about generating sales, period. The tobacco industry has used such studies to target the young and uninformed. They have used deceptive advertising as a result of these findings in the form of marketing ‘low-tar’ cigarettes. They have also used cartoon-like characters to appeal to the youth consumer. To their delight, this strategy indeed generated sales as planned without an ethical thought as to the dishonesty of such practices or that this practice was particularly disgusting as it applies to youth smoking. The marketing of filtered and low-tar cigarettes was planned to comfort smokers worried about the health risks associated with the habit and to impart this new product as an alternative to not smoking. The marketing tactics adopted by the tobacco industry are not unique to this field, but instead provide an excellent example of why consumers cannot trust brands, particularly those that seem most appealing.Uncovered documents regarding the promotional efforts of tobacco companies in the 1960s and 70s show that the Joe Camel campaign was conceived from an advertising suggestion to use comic strip characters that appealed to younger potential smokers. This was after a study which revealed that first-time smokers generally preferred Marlboro, a trend aided by the highly successful ‘Marlboro Man’ campaign. The vast marketing success of Joe Camel fostered similar ad campaigns such as the Kool penguin. Sporting sunglasses, ‘Willie the Kool’s’ design and marketing focus addressed young teenagers’ need to fit in or be ‘cool’. Tobacco advertising has been banned from television viewers since the late 1960’s but has found alternative means by which to market.