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Enhancing the Effectiveness of Warning Labels: Plain Packs vs Branded Packs Janet Hoek, Massey University.

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Presentation on theme: "Enhancing the Effectiveness of Warning Labels: Plain Packs vs Branded Packs Janet Hoek, Massey University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Enhancing the Effectiveness of Warning Labels: Plain Packs vs Branded Packs Janet Hoek, Massey University

2 Overview Effects of restrictions on marketing communications Key roles of marketing communications Importance of packaging as a communications medium Increased prominence over recent years Exploratory study: How does branding interact with warning labels?

3 Key Role of Marketing Communications To develop a “brand” Idea that consumers: Buy more than functional attributes Gain emotional and psychological benefits from purchases View of cigarettes as “badge” products Provides “a living testimonial endorsement of the user on behalf of that brand and product” Source: Pollay, R. - "How Cigarette Promotion Works“, p. 10

4 Key Role of Marketing Communications Clear that this view shared by tobacco industry: “In the cigarette category brand image is everything. The brand of cigarettes a person smokes is their identity. Cigarettes tell others who they are as a person. There is a strong emotional connection to the brand, the image it projects about the smoker, not only to themselves but to others." (RBH-003911, 1996, p.2) Source: Pollay, R. - "How Cigarette Promotion Works“, p. 10.

5 Coping with Communication Restrictions Brand traditionally developed via promotional activity Restrictions on advertising, sponsorship, POS Increased interest in packaging Packaging’s benefits… Eye-catching imagery conveys brand attributes Tempts new users (and quitters)? Deflects attention from health warnings and reduces salience of these

6 Role of Packaging Evidence of how packaging communicates brand attributes “ Clearly, the package does communicate the cigarette they’re smoking and we believe that people choose their cigarettes according to what those cigarettes are, and that includes imagery.” Source: Hoult, P.J. 1989. Transcript, RJR – Macdonald Inc. v. Canada (Attorney General). 27 Sep, p. 397. Cited in Cunningham, R. Smoke and Mirrors, p.136 “ The user must be hurled into a situation where he wants to buy the container for itself because it is attractive. The ultimate target was to make the container as appealing [as], not to say more so [than],... the content.” Source Hemain, C. 1994. Stripping intolerance. In King, T.; Owen, B.; Oldman, M., ed., The tobacco industry 1994. Millenium Press, London, UK. pp. 20. Cited in Cunningham, R. Smoke and Mirrors, p.137

7 Importance of Packaging Clear that retaining branded packs an important priority: “Wills strategy should be ensure that: … (c) proposals for generic packs are rejected, are not for negotiation and are regarded separately from the main issue of restriction. In this way the company and the industry will not be vulnerable to bargaining tactics which exploit the generics threat. … (5).. In addition to legal factors, the industry should ensure that its argumentation highlights the many practical problems …’” Source: Carr-Gregg M. Interaction of public policy advocacy and research in the passage of New Zealand’s Smoke-free Environments Act 1990. Addiction 1993 (Jan Suppl): 35S-41S. Cited in Thomson, G. 2001. Report to ASH on British American Tobacco (BAT) documents from the Guildford depository

8 Arguments Against Plain Packaging No evidence to support the recommendations ‘There is no evidence, anywhere in the studies reported, that any changes to cigarette packs will have any effect on the behaviour of the target groups’” R. P. Power, School of Behavioural Sciences, Macquarie University. Source: John, G. 1994. De-facing brands are darkening horizon. Tobacco International, Feb 1, 20-24 Seems counter-intuitive… Brands reassure users, Enhance self-esteem, Project self-image…

9 Research Objectives Study sought to address this alleged lack of evidence How important is brand familiarity? H1Familiar brands more attractive than unfamiliar brands, which are more attractive than generic packs How does brand familiarity interact with warning labels? H2Familiar brands with PWLs more attractive than generic packs with text only warning

10 Methodology Method Convenience sample of 245 students Mean age 22 Scenario created Student just left home for university New friends all smokers, become a social smoker Been asked to bring cigarettes to smoke and share

11 Methodology Fractional factorial design 3 brand options (Holiday, Kool, generic) 2 warnings (PWL, text) Best-Worst scaling used to identify brand most and least likely to be chosen to smoke and share Told choices all the same type of cigarette All available at the same price

12 Results Used choice patterns to estimate relative attractiveness of different attributes Brand-Warningb-w Holiday Text warning884 Kool Text warning513 Holiday PWL16 Generic Text warning-171 Kool PWL-361 Generic PWL-881 Probability % 84.6 14.5.63.23.05.002

13 Implications Known brands with text warnings most attractive option More than 100x as attractive as known brand with PWL 6x more attractive than unknown brand with text warning Even known brand with PWL more attractive than generic brand with text only warning About 3x more attractive Generic pack with PWL least attractive 25 times less attractive than unknown brand with PWL

14 Limitations Measure of attractiveness not behaviour Could argue results predictable, given choices… Though decreasing attractiveness may reduce behaviour? Limited to two brands Opportunity to extend research by incorporating other brands Test brand salience and appeal to different demographics Examine brand reactance across wider sample of brands Convenience sample Results cannot be generalised to wider population Opportunity to replicate using formal selection procedures

15 Conclusions PWLs markedly less attractive than text only warnings Plain packages strikingly less attractive than branded packs Generic packs would eliminate communication channel Generics + PWLs could reduce “badge” status of product Seems likely to reduce initiation Fits spirit of marketing restriction statutes Exploratory evidence now exists to support generic packaging as tobacco control measure

16 Future…??


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