Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Marketers Are Geniuses ... Until They're Not

On Monday, Bucko delivered one of his customarily delightful fiskings of an article in The Scotsman. Very good it is too, as usual, do go have a read.

The author was Professor Amanda Amos of Edinburgh University who seems to be disastrously confused about the merits and/or downsides of advertising and marketing.
ADVERTS for electronic cigarettes could encourage young people to see smoking as a positive thing to do, an expert has warned.
So these adverts for e-cigs are pretty rubbish, then.

You see, they're supposed to be encouraging smokers to use e-cigs instead. Therefore are specifically designed to do the complete opposite of making the target audience "see smoking as a positive thing to do". If - as moaning Mandy states - the ads are having the effect of making tobacco smoking more attractive,  people seeing the advert would smoke instead of using e-cigs, which would be a massive fail for the ad agency.

Yet she then goes on to advocate plain packaging of tobacco.
On the issue of packaging, Prof Amos said tobacco companies were still able to promote their products by using novelties such as slim, colourful boxes to appeal to younger smokers, meaning a move to plain packets was the next logical step.
Err, so now advertising and marketing is incredibly well-targeted and able to hone in on precisely the consumer they wish to attract. Right down to sex and age range to within a year or two either way.

One minute even a fag box is precisely targeted marketing by expert advertising industry professionals designed to suck in teens and women to that exact product.The next, e-cig marketing by the same clever advertising industry professionals is shit and will make people buy something entirely different.

Do you reckon - and I know it's a long shot - that Prof Amos really hasn't the first fucking clue about advertising at all? You know, considering she has spent a lifetime working in public health and not even the briefest of hours in an advertising agency?

The wacky world of tobacco control, eh? I just wish they'd make their very dull minds up.


Xopher said...

AND did she consider all the anti-smoking adverts that constantly highlight smoking? They promote a forbidden fruit to the young by condemning it.

What the.... said...

“The best teaching aid I’ve encountered”
- Stantonitis Glands

What the.... said...


Bucko TheMoose said...

Cheers for the link ;-)

George said...

I think Prof Amos really hasn't the first fucking clue about advertising at all.

Sam Duncan said...

“a move to plain packets was the next logical step.”

And the next logical step after that is ... ? And the one after that? Keep following those logical steps and you'll find yourself in East Germany before you know you've started. The fag kiosk at my local Morrisons looks like it's arrived there already, with the recent censorship of displays.

Also, what Xopher said. Even if this were the only argument against tobacco control it would be enough. I'm not a smoker, never have been. I don't particularly like tobacco smoke (although I don't take an exaggerated fit of the - ahem - vapours at the merest whiff either). My reasons for opposing all this nonsense are simply that it's tyrranical and ultimately counterproductive.

“But how can you say that when smoking numbers are falling!” Yes, and they're falling everywhere, regardless of the level of regulatory fanaticism, because people know it's bad for them. That's why the e-cig market has been so spectacularly successful over the last two or three years: people want a safer alternative to smoking, rather than giving up entirely. But glamourizing smoking by exaggerating the danger and creating a clandestine aspect to the market (both legal and, increasingly, illicit) will only encourage young people to take it up. I've said it before: Google “smoking porn”. It's a growing market which barely existed 10-15 years ago.

Back in the '60s and '70s, smoking marijuana was, as much as anything, an act of defiance against those who banned it, a rebellion against petty rules. Today, tobacco, while not quite there yet, is rapidly approaching the same status. Boomers, you have become your parents. I'm sure they'd be proud.

(Sorry for the long comment, but Counting Cats is still more or less out of commission and I'm getting the jitters.)

Dick_Puddlecote said...

You're spot on, Sam. Especially this bit ...

"But glamourizing smoking by exaggerating the danger and creating a clandestine aspect to the market (both legal and, increasingly, illicit) will only encourage young people to take it up."

... which is a very good reason for not introducing plain packaging on top of the hidden displays which already have kids more curious about smoking than they were before. Not that the tobacco control industry will ever admit that, of course.

By the way, what's the deal with Counting Cats, has it gone for good do you think? :(

Train Stationer said...

From the Reference Guide to Epidemiology of the Federal Judicial Center’s Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, the principal reference for instructing US courts in regard to epidemiology. The Manual states: “…epidemiology cannot objectively prove causation; rather, causation is a judgment for epidemiologists and others interpreting the epidemiological data.” [6], and “.. the existence of some [associated] factors does not ensure that a causal relationship exists. Drawing causal inferences after finding an association and considering these factors requires judgment and searching analysis.” [7] and “[w]hile the drawing of causal inferences is informed by scientific expertise, it is not a determination that is made by using scientific methodology.”.

Thus, while epidemiologists insist that their discipline is a science, clearly it is not the solid experimental science that produces reliable causal connections to fuel new scientific discoveries, successful technological advances, and defensible public health policies. More to the point, if multifactorial epidemiology does not operate in the framework of science, what warrants of reliability could it offer?

It remains a fact that in over 50 years of trying to induce cancer in animals using tobacco smoke, not even one study has yielded a statistically significant result that links cancer to tobacco use

Sam Duncan said...

Turns out there was a bit of bother while Cats was trying to fix it. He has a post up now explaining things.

It should be back to (better than) normal now. Fingers crossed...