Tag Archives: tobacco

Smoking – “Finish It”


It’s hard to believe, but it has been 14 years since the first significant antismoking campaign – “Truth” – launched in 2000. In the classic video, young people pull up to the Philip Morris headquarters in New York and dump out 1,200 body bags – one for each person who died daily as a results of tobacco smoking.

It was a stunning commercial, and a very effective one. In a research study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the “Truth” campaign has been attributed with preventing 450,000 teens from smoking. Today, 9% of teens smoke, down from 23% in 2000. That’s a big impact for a public service campaign.

The new campaign is called “Finish it” and it launched this week in video and social media. The campaign wants teenagers to superimpose a campaign logo onto their profile pictures to help spread the message. The campaign’s goal is lofty and worthy – to have 0% of teenagers smoking.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss social responsibility in marketing.
  2. Poll students about public service campaigns. What is memorable, why, and did it change behavior? (ex: drunk driving, texting while driving, seat belts, etc.)
  3. Show the original “Truth” video:


  1. Show the new “Finish It” video:


  1. Divide students into teams and have team analyze the two commercials for messages, target market, effectiveness, etc.
  2. Next, have each team select a social responsibility topic and design a campaign to reach the audience and educate them about the topic.

Source: New York Times

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CVS Quits Tobacco


People shop at drug stores and pharmacies primarily to get medical supplies, medications, and other products that impact their health in a positive manner. But walk into most drugstores and one will see a plethora of tobacco products being sold – a decidedly unhealthy product!

Publically acknowledging this discontinuity, CVS recently decided that it could no longer sell a product as unhealthy as cigarettes and tobacco products and still maintain its main premise of helping people. Yes, the second-largest pharmacy in the U.S. announced that it will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco in more than 7,600 stores by October 1, 2014, thereby becoming the first nationwide drugstore to eliminate the toxic products.

The move will not be cheap for CVS. Analysts estimate that tobacco sales contribute roughly $2 billion in annual revenue to the company. But it is a move that has been lauded for helping the company move into a more authentic and consistent direction, helping to reposition the company into a broader based health and services provider instead of just a dispensary for pills.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. View the announcement on CVS’ Web site: http://info.cvscaremark.com/cvs-insights/cvs-quits
  2. Discuss why this is an important development in the drugstore industry? Will other companies follow CVS’ example? Why or why not?
  3. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  4. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a positioning map for CVS – both before the elimination of tobacco, and after the elimination of tobacco. How will the change help the company reposition?
  5. Have each team draw their map on the board.
  6. Debrief exercise.

Source:  New York Times, other news sources, 2/5/14

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The Importance of Packaging

Although packaging might not be one of the classic “4Ps of marketing,” marketers know that packaging is an integral part of the product and promotion. Companies do continuous research to determine the optimum graphics, words, logos, and sizes in order to gain consumers’ awareness and eventual sales. In essence, the package becomes the product and provides the consumer with his first look and emotional appeal of the product.

What then happens when the package design is not only removed from the manufacturer’s control, but is also made to be as realistic – in the case of cigarettes, unappealing – as possible? The result for tobacco companies is a dramatic package that clearly illustrates the drastic after-effects of smoking cigarettes.

In a recent ruling by the High Court of Australia, the law requires that cigarettes be sold in packages without any company logos, and with the same font for all brands on a dark brown background. In addition, 90% of the package back and 70% of the package front will have graphic health warnings about cigarette smoking. Plan packaging is a significant threat for companies as they will no longer be able to try to differentiate products from competition, and no longer be able to portray cigarettes as an attractive life-style choice.

Why such a drastic move by the Australian courts? The country’s government faces more than $31 billion in annual health care costs form smoking and estimates that smoking killed more than 900,000 Australian citizens over the past 60 years.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of packaging for consumer goods products.
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team use laptops to research the packaging and messages used by tobacco companies.
  3. Have students team research the tobacco packaging laws in countries such as the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K.
  4. What are the ramifications of the laws for tobacco companies?
  5. Poll students: What are attractive packages that they can recall? What are unattractive packages that they can recall?
  6. Discussion topics: What are the ethical implications of tobacco advertising? Where is the line between legal compliance and ethical conduct?
  7. Research for students: How much do tobacco companies spend on advertising and promotion each year? How much is the health care cost for different countries?

Source:  Ad Age Daily, Bloomberg News, 8/11/12

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