For the past century cigarette manufactures have been facing strict restrictions on cigarettes advertising and as time flows by, the FDA has constantly tightened its grip on the industry. Cigarettes advertising have become more difficult than any other product, including medicines. Still these manufacturers are able to increase their sales, profits and usage through other marketing channels. Was the FDA really successful in its efforts to decrease cigarettes marketing? That is a very debatable topic and best left for the FDA to argue with, but let’s take a glance at the marketing and advertising efforts of the cigarette manufacturers over the history.
Before people really knew how hazardous smoking was to their health, companies were able to assign large budgets for cigarettes advertising. The first tobacco ad that ran in newspapers in the United States was in 1789. At that time, manufacturers did not see many benefits of branding, since due to transport problems people had limited supply of tobacco. It was at the end of the Civil War that a successful tobacco company emerged, when a Farm was invaded during the war by troops from North Carolina. After the war, the soldiers wrote to the farmer requesting for more and hence that farmer, Mr. John green, went to establish his own tobacco company, The Bull Durham Tobacco Company.
It was not long after that when some of the most brilliant innovations helped cigarette manufactures distinguish their brands in the market. The invention of the cigarette making machine allowed tobacco companies to boost production 100 times. From producing 40,000 sticks a day to 4 million sticks, allowing companies to gain from economies of scale and becoming much more price competitive. The second invention in 1870 of the color lithography allowed brands to strengthen their stance, but enhanced the advertising and packaging of their products. The invention led the companies to make trading cards to be included in their packs as a promotional gift. The cards would depict pictures of movie stars and famous figures. It was however the end of the trading cards promotion that led to even more successful advertising. The government banned the distribution of cards to save paper for war, but some of these cards hence gained value due to their rarity. The war was also very fruitful for the tobacco companies. Tobacco companies for the sake of cigarettes advertising and gaining patriotism support included cigarettes as part of the government ration to troops and the cigarettes were distributed free of cost. After the war, many cigarette addict troops returned home, hence enlarging the market for the production companies.
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This was the most significant age in cigarettes advertising. With increased demand for tobacco, companies were able to massively promote cigarette advertising on TV, billboards, newspapers and any channel they could find. There were catchy and rugged slogans for every brand, companies getting doctors, children and even babies, to endorse their products and millions of nicotine addicts buying tobacco. Once the public was aware of cigarette’s relation with lung cancer, companies started to make cigarettes with filters and advertised how it was much better than its regular counterpart. However, it was only till 1963, after which increased study of the effects of smoking on the lungs and doctors started to recommend committees to regulate the smoking industry’s marketing efforts. The FDA banned the advertising of tobacco on radios and television and forced tobacco companies to print warning labels on the box. Tobacco companies simply changed strategies and started targeting younger markets with mascot and attractive products.