Tobacco Giant Jumps on TV Ad Opportunity for New, Unregulated E-Cigarettes

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While tobacco ads have been banned from TV since 1971, the FDA has yet to ban ads for the industry’s latest innovation, electronic cigarettes. With that, R.J. Reynolds, the parent of Camel and the brand behind Vuse e-cigarettes is taking advantage of the lack of oversight and advertising what the company claims will be a “game changer,” AdAge reports

At the start, the ads will only appear in Colorado, but the plan is for an eventual national rollout. The campaign will also include print and direct-mail marketing. However, things could change if the FDA announces that it intends to regulate e-cigarettes. Reynolds American CEO Daniel Delen said he believes such an announcement could be “imminent.”

Since the Vuse experience is designed to be one that closely mirrors the action of traditional smoking, the target audience, the publication notes, are smokers who have wanted to transition to e-cigarettes. According to AdAge, “more than 40 percent of smokers have tried e-cigarettes, but approximately 80 percent go back to exclusively smoking traditional cigarettes.”[more]

Reynolds’ competitor Lorillard’s Blu e-cigarettes have started to air commercials as well.

E-cigarettes are often cited as a possible tool to help end nicotine addiction but R.J. Reynolds noted that Vuse is making no such claims for its product. One thing that may attract smokers to switch is the price. According to the AP, “a single e-cigarette and cartridge lasting about as long as one pack of traditional cigarettes is expected to cost about $10 and will include a USB charger.”

Tobacco companies are hoping e-cigarette sales will help offset the fall of cigarette sales in the past few years as more governments regulate sales and advertising over outspoken health risks. The Associated Press reports that sales for e-cigarettes could double to $1 billion this year.

“We plan to be a large, strong national leader in a very short period of time, and Colorado represents just one of our major states as we roll it out,” said Stephanie Cordisco, president of subsidiary R.J. Reynolds Vapor, CBNC reports.

The window to market on a national level may close rather quickly as some cities, states and countries including Indianapolis, California and France have either already placed restrictions on the sale and advertising of e-cigarettes or are in the process of doing so. 

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