Strategic marketing in the UK tobacco industry

Anderson, S and Hastings, G and MacFadyen, L (2002) Strategic marketing in the UK tobacco industry. Lancet Oncology, 3 (8). pp. 481-486. ISSN 1470-2045

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Abstract

Tobacco-industry marketing has played a central part in the global spread of tobacco use and addiction. Although the absolute size of the tobacco market has dwindled, the industry is still immensely successful, largely due to sophisticated and manipulative marketing strategies. The UK tobacco industry identifies target groups and builds enduring relationships based on careful brand management. Potential customers are exposed to brands which are likely to appeal to them most. Tobacco companies tailor their products to target markets by altering the content of tar and nicotine, and by adding flavourings to produce a distinctive taste. Marketing strategies ensure that the products are promoted heavily at the point of sale, and directed advertising and sponsorship agreements are used to increase the visibility of the brand and strengthen its image. Tobacco companies also target non-consumer organisations such as retailers and policy makers with the aim of creating the best possible business environment for tobacco sales. We review published evidence, internal-advertising-agency documents, and observational data about tobacco promotion, and discuss the use of targeted marketing strategies in the UK.