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Shake Off Those Cobwebs; Big Tobacco is Back
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Rising from the ashes after 40 years, Big Tobacco is back on television and radio in the United States. Though they are still unable to push their tobacco and smokeless tobacco, the big companies have been reaping success from its electronic cigarette divisions, and have collectively decided that it is time to grace the airwaves again.

The main audience for the electronic cigarettes, say the tobacco companies, are those adult smokers looking for a change. Yes, with the shift to non-smoking in the States, the chances of being social and smoking has been severely limited. So Big Tobacco is looking to provide an alternative for those smokers.

The first brand hitting the TV stage is Blu eCigs, a subsidiary of Lorillard. Out of the Big 3, Blu has been the most active player in the online and new media advertising. Blu was early on TV, too; according to iSpot TV, the ad below featuring actor Stephen Dorff has aired 3,655 times since October.

Vuse, owned by RJ Reynolds, plans to start its campaign in August, and Altria (formerly Phillip Morris) is just getting into the eCigs game, with plans of launching a brand later this year. 

Of course, with tobacco advertising, the talk about minors must come up; all the companies involved say that they support restricting sales to minors, and that their research departments made sure that their advertising will avoid them.

In truth, it seems like they are practicing what they are preaching. Again, according to iSpot TV, that Blu eCig ad last ran during the Dick Van Dyke Show. We bet you we can ask any of our peers and maybe 1 out of 8 of them would know that the show was still on, and even less could tell you what channel.

This is just the beginning. Already the tobacco companies have been pushing their stuff in print, especially in magazines, so we'll have to wait a while to see how long they stay true to their target market.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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