Good Quotes on Plain Packaging

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In response to plain packaging proposals there have been a number of telling commentaries from tobacco industry analysts (who have a vested interest in the performance of the tobacco industry), members of the tobacco industry, industry funded reports, the press and the public health community. Such quotes convey how strongly opposed the industry is to plain packaging legislation and thus, how important branding is and therefore how important packaging is to their business.

* “We expect a bare-knuckle fight from the industry”. Martin Deboo, an Investec tobacco analyst. 20121

* “Plain Packaging Spells Disaster” Tobacco Journal International. 20112

* “There is no doubt that the power of the brand, upon which much of the success of any major fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry is based, would be severely damaged without the colours and the design recognised by millions of consumers.” Tobacco Journal International. 20113

* “Given current restrictions on advertising, packaging is the most important method of branding still available. Plain packaging will therefore significantly reduce the role of brands.” Philip Morris consultant. 20124

* Plain packaging is the “biggest regulatory threat to the industry, as packaging is the most important way tobacco companies have to communicate with the consumer and differentiate their products”. Investment bank, Citigroup. 20105

* “In the absence of any other Marketing messages, our packaging — comprised of the trademark, our design, color and information — is the sole communicator of our brand essence. Put another way — when you don’t have anything else — our packaging is our Marketing.” Philip Morris 19946

* Philip Morris also describes packaging as “an integral part of the product”. It argues: “Packaging is an important means of differentiating brands and in that sense is a means of communicating to consumers about what brands are on sale and in particular the goodwill associated with our trademarks, indicating brand value and quality. Placing trademarks on packaged goods is, thus, at the heart of commercial expression.” 20087

* Marketing literature calls pack design “the communication life-blood of the firm” and the “silent salesman” that reaches out to customers. 19988

* “For cigarettes, the pack is the brand. Multinational companies such as BAT spend millions developing the most effective pack designs that hold the greatest appeal to their target consumers … While it is likely that people will always smoke, reducing cigarettes to a generic brand status with plain packaging will dramatically limit the capacity to market the product.” Steven Greenland, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Swinburne University of Technology, Australia. June 20119

* “The phasing in of the display ban and government consultations on plain packaging are a huge blow to the tobacco industry given the critical role of great pack design and PoS of Sale in influencing consumer decision making.” David Timothy, senior account director at brand consultancy, Anthem Worldwide. 201210

* “Under conditions of total advertising ban, pack designs and the brand house and company ‘livery’ have enormous importance in reminding and reassuring the smokers. Therefore the most effective symbols, designs, colour schemes, graphics and other brand identifiers should be carefully researched so as to find out which best convey the elements of goodwill and image. An objective should be to enable packs, by themselves, to convey the total product message”. 11


Plain Packaging Labelling and Packaging Arguments and Language

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  1. Christopher Thompson, Imperial Head Fumes Over Plain Packaging, Financial Times, 7 May 2012
  2. William McEwen,From Riches to Rags? Tobacco Journal International, Feb/March 2011, p85,
  3. Don Hedley, Ten points to watch for 201, Tobacco Journal International, Feb/March 2011
  4. Jorge Padilla, The Impact of Plain Packaging of Cigarettes in UK: a Simulation Exercise, LECG Consulting Belgium, A report for Philip Morris, accessed March 2012
  5. Peter Smith & Pan Kwan Yuk, Australia plans cigarette packet branding ban, The Financial Times, 29 April 2010, accessed March 2012
  6. Mark Hulit, Marketing Issues Corporate Affairs Conference, Philip Morris, Manila, 27 May 1994
  7. Philip Morris Limited, Response to the Department of Health consultation on the future of tobacco control, September 2008, accessed March 2012
  8. B. Freeman, S. Chapman, M. Rimmer, The Case for Plain Packaging for Tobacco Products, University of Sidney, School of Public Health p. 7, 2008, referring to Underwood RL, Ozanne J., Is your Package an Effective communicator? A Normative Framework for Increasing the Communicative Competence of Packaging, Marketing Communication 1998: 207-220, accessed March 2012
  9. Steven Greenland, Spluttering on: why big tobacco just can’t butt out on plain packaging, the Conversation, 8 June 2011, accessed February 2012
  10. David Timothy, The rituals of smoking, Letter to the Grocer, 10 March 2012
  11. BAT, Future Communication Restrictions in Advertising” Guidelines, Post Jestebury Conference, 10 July 1979