It amazes me that Campaign so consistently misunderstands the case for
tobacco advertising. Like so many other mature market categories, such
as petfoods, petrol, soap powders, toilet tissues, beer, bread,
newspapers - the list could fill a whole page - there is little or
nothing that advertising can now do to expand the overall market for
these products. To use bank accounts as an example in the same context
as tobacco is not very sensible or convincing, since there is plenty of
room for expansion in this sector.
Your editorial (Campaign, 10 November) rightly reminds us that ‘all
advertising is about encouraging people to try and/or buy more of a
product’. Yes indeed, but the point is that ‘trying’ and ‘buying more
of’ a given product are not the same thing, and in the case of tobacco
we cannot, and nor are we allowed to, persuade anyone to ‘buy more’ of
However, we can use money and skills effectively to persuade smokers to
try another brand. Brand share shifts have illustrated how successful
that can be.
The fact is that the tobacco industry’s voluntary agreement has worked
well for 24 years, is strictly monitored and should not be, as you put
it, ‘a thorn in the ad industry’s side’.
We wish to retain our advertising freedoms, within the present system of
regulatory control and do not welcome argument and editorial opinion
that appears to have but a limited appreciation of our business.
Clive Turner, Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association, London SW1