Maybe in Australia

So, it is now not possible in Australia to brand cigarettes. From today, cigarettes can only be sold in packs that are olive Plain cigarette packaging in Australiagreen in colour and depict images of the consequences of smoking; for example, blindness (see right). The industry has, of course, objected to this – even at one point claiming that it was an infringement of trading law. Essentially the argument goes that states cannot restrict firms from using their brands. The role of the state is to maintain fairness in trading, not restrict it.

In going to law, the tobacco industry lost the case. In response the industry then claimed that the new rules would draw in counterfeiters, particularly from Asia. This is a nice but flawed relativist argument. By definition, counterfeited products are potentially more dangerous – brand owners, even cigarette brand owners – do not try to poison consumers in any acute sense (over time, they knowingly do so). But there is no safe level of cigarette consumption. And the explicit aim of the Australian government is to stop people from smoking. One has to assume that the Australian government does have a contingency for the counterfeiters.

Good on the Australian government.

MaybeNov12By way of contrast, cigarette advertising – brand promotion – goes on in every German high street. Today I shot the latest in the ongoing Marlboro ‘Don’t be a Maybe’ campaign (left). The campaign requires some insider knowledge fully to understand. The notion of being a ‘maybe’ is not clear from any one poster, but I have seen the associated video in shops; chilling in their association with glamour and success. Indeed, the campaign has been criticised and deemed to be in breach of the law. Cigarette companies cannot target young people in advertising. Frankly, most of the brands glamorise smoking for young people (see elsewhere in this blog copious examples, particularly Pall Mall). I think it needs to be turned around. ‘Don’t be a maybe cancer sufferer’?L&M_winter2012

L&M have a new poster for the run up to Christmas (right). There is no glamorisation of smoking as the brand pursues its additive free nature. Different and a standard, if my translation is correct.

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