The marketing of Electronic Cigarettes, the “cigarette alternative,” is becoming more aggressive and reaching larger audiences. While these devices have been available for several years, the advertising is now reaching new venues. Advertising can be seen on cable TV and is pervasive with online videos. Websites clad with sexy women in sultry positions and superhero men puffing on electronic cigs are easy to find. Adding in fun and young flavors such as bubblegum, strawberry, chocolate and peach and you have a whole fun new and sexy category of safe smoking. This ultimately creates a market for e-cigs that include non-smokers.
An article by Anthony Nagy from Business Insider discusses the advertising messages presented by manufacturers of e-cigs. I agree with Nagy’s overall assessment that the marketers are missing an opportunity to message the health benefits of the devices. If, as proponents state, it is true that this is a great alternative for those addicted to the unhealthy habit of smoking, then shouldn’t the messages tailored for smokers include this health message?
We did find one such an example:
The New York Times suggests that many of the current campaigns are reminiscent of iconic cigarette ads. Clearly those campaigns were successful and with the prevalence of online ordering, it is a strong possibility that a youth market will be intrigued and motivated by the campaigns. After all, what teenager does not want to be sexy and strong? Without the prevalence of the aforementioned health messaging, however, I wonder if the campaigns will be the first step in developing young smokers? Is it possible that e-cigarettes could the gateway to smoking real cigarettes rather than (or in addition to) the bridge to quit?
What do you think about the marketing for e-cigs? Are they reaching audiences in the right way? Will the marketing of these devices lead to a healthier society with less smoking or create a new era of people who jump from electronic cigarettes to real ones?