Australia has recently tightened its policies towards the selling of tobacco. The reason? The current regulations do not create a large enough impact. Even after banning almost all enticing or pleasing aspects of the packs, the government has gone one step further by obligating certain criteria. Among these include government standard images and health warnings that must cover a certain percentage of the packs.
This depicts the power of advertising— by enforcing stricter packaging laws the government is hoping to even further reduce smoking and improve public health. With the use of shocking and graphic images, the packages become aesthetically unpleasant which should increase the consumer’s incentives to stop smoking.
One of the main goals here is to remove specification. By setting standards that require all packages to be uniform, distinction between brands is greatly reduced and advertising has a much smaller impact. This should help especially with the younger customers, who seem to be the ones most influenced by packaging.
The new packaging is effective because it changes the value proposition of the cigarettes in the consumer’s minds—instead of seeing them as a cool, popular, and almost luxurious product that provides a certain pleasure and satisfaction, it is instead portrayed as a detrimental and dangerous health risk.
Personally, I think that Australia is doing the right thing in informing its customers as to what they are buying. This way, they can form an informed decision based on actual facts as opposed to brand appeal.
Source: Australia’s Gross-Out Cigarette Warnings -Bloomberg Businessweek
Additional Information: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/15/us-australia-tobacco-idUSBRE87D0PI20120815