Smoking is a key driver of the non-communicable disease epidemic and the leading cause of avoidable premature death. Accordingly, governments around the globe have imposed tough regulations on manufacturers’ marketing activities in order to reduce tobacco sales and the harmful effects of smoking. Despite these constraints tobacco companies continue to use the available elements of the marketing mix to promote their products, while also engaging in corporate social responsibility activities that seek to offset negative public perceptions of their products. The Australian tobacco market changed in December 2012 when plain packaging of cigarettes became law and this key avenue for branding cigarettes was closed. However, tobacco manufacturers continued to introduce new brand variants and segment the market with highly differentiated offerings. A key dimension of the manufacturer response to plain packaging involved a new brand name strategy. After plain packaging the brand name presented the only means of differentiating tobacco offerings and the structure of these evolved to include an existing brand name and two or more descriptive words. Words used as descriptors are often colour words although more abstract words are also employed, for example Dunhill Infinite White or Winfield Optimum Crush Blue. Preliminary research suggests that these modified tri-component brand names evoke positive connotations in consumers and reduce their negative perceptions regarding the harmful effects of smoking. By understanding the tobacco company’s current brand naming strategy recommendations for further effective tobacco controls can be developed. This paper presents a methodology that can be employed to explore the new complex tobacco brand names. Specific projective and in-depth elicitation techniques are outlined that should facilitate understanding of the connotations that consumers attach to these new brand names. This research contributes to the CSR literature by examining the strategy of an industry that claims to be socially responsible, yet markets products that kill its customers—such paradox has been noted previously in relation to tobacco and manufacturers of other harmful products. The paper also contributes to the Marketing literature on evaluating brand names, specifically in the area of brand name structure and interpretation of word combinations.
|Title of host publication||The Goals of Sustainable Development|
|Editors||Crowther David, Seifi Shahla, Moyeen Abdul|
|Number of pages||14|
|Publication status||Published - 2018|
|Name||Approaches to Global Sustainability, Markets, and Governance|
Morton, A., & Greenland, S. (2018). Tobacco CSR and the Ethics Game Paradox: A Qualitative Approach for Evaluating Tobacco Brand Name Strategy Following Plain Packaging. In C. David, S. Shahla, & M. Abdul (Eds.), The Goals of Sustainable Development (pp. 179-192). (Approaches to Global Sustainability, Markets, and Governance ). Springer.