tvwinstonThe tobacco industry always uses the most advanced mass media to advertise cigarettes. From the very beginning cigarette makers advertised generously in newspapers, magazines and in outdoor venues. During the heyday of radio from the 1930s to the 1950s, cigarette companies began to sponsor prime-time programs.  During the rise of television in the 1950s cigarette companies again moved aggressively and quickly to dominate prime time advertising time.  In 1967, under the Fairness Doctrine, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) required TV stations to broadcast anti-smoking ads at no cost to the agencies providing them. In 1969, Congress passed the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act that banned all cigarette ads on television and radio starting January 2, 1971.

Target Audiences

Advertising is important to cigarette makers who strive to recruit new smokers (usually in their teens), maintain current smokers, and persuade smokers to switch to their brands. Scientific evidence shows that tobacco company advertising and promotion influences young...

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KOOL Beetleboard

Brown and Williamson and R.J. Reynolds offered VW Beetle owners “a free paint job that dramatically increases the value of their vehicle in most instances.” Drivers received a monthly driver payment and had the opportunity to earn even more cash through participation...

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1870s-1900s Color Lithography

Color lithography of the late 1870s allowed companies to create more attractive package illustrations to better promote their products.  By the 1890s magazines carried advertisements for cigarettes, snuff and pipe tobacco. A common marketing device in those days was...

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Point of Sale

In the late 1940s Lorillard and R.J. Reynolds added self-service displays at checkout counters. From 1970 until 1989 most stores featured a cigarette kiosk near its main entrance. Cigarette companies continue to pay retailers for prime advertising display space as...

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Price Marketing

Today, tobacco companies spend the bulk of marketing dollars at retail stores with price discounts, prime product placement to attract buyers, and in-store advertising.  Lower prices mean more sales and more consumption.  Price promotions like “buy-one, get-one free,”...

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Movies

Cigarette makers have long understood the value of encouraging tobacco use through product placement in movies of all ratings.   CDC factsheet on smoking in movies....

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Loyalty Marketing Programs

Raleigh, and later Belair smokers, could collect B&W Coupons in exchange for gifts that could be ordered through the Brown & Williamson Premium Plan catalog. Later, Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds would create similar loyalty programs using Marlboro Miles and Camel Cash.

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Web and Social Media Marketing

Cigarette companies use websites to register new users under the guise of age verification, and capture personal information to use for marketing programs.  A study found that of the top representative cigarette brands there were 238 Facebook fan pages, 46 cigarette...

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Smokers’ Databases

Cigarette makers have developed sophisticated consumer monitoring databases containing information on millions of smokers that were acquired through website registrations (below), sign-ups, give-away programs, special events, and through data-base companies. ...

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Sponsorships

  In spite of the ban on sports sponsorship, the regulations allowed indirect promotion of brands by way of stadium billboards and other advertising devices.  This practice has been banned in the U.S., but cigarette sports sponsorship and promotion continue...

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