UK kills tobacco brands

Tobacco branding

Following Australia’s lead, the UK introduces plain packaging laws for tobacco

All advertising and branding of cigarettes is now banned in the UK. This follows similar laws introduced in Australia in 2012.

For big tobacco brands, this is a massive challenge. They’ve effectively had almost all of their brand assets stripped overnight (although this has been coming for awhile).

The only differentiation remaining is the brand name, but even that now only appears in a standard consistent Helvetica font. As Australia has done, the UK will now only allow cigarettes to be packaged in a mud-green box accompanied by graphic health warnings.

The UK is hoping the new brand and advertising ban could see 300,000 fewer smokers by next year. This is a 0.5% decrease from the current 17% of the UK population and inline with results in Australia.

Writing us Aussies off as a tiny blip in the global market is one thing. But losing their brands in the UK will definitely hurt the tobacco companies. Most concerning will be the influence the UK has on other countries. This won’t be the last country to adopt this.

As a brand creator, I still struggle with this approach. I won’t work or support tobacco in any way and I applaud moves to reduce smoking.

However, I still feel this is an attack on brands. Where will this stop – is alcohol and candy next?

If a product is legal to be sold, should the company have the right to create and protect it’s brand?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Michael Hughes

Michael is Managing Partner and Strategy Director at Truly Deeply, a brand agency with 25 years’ experience working with brands to position them for growth. His deep expertise is in unlocking the strategic power of your brand to create a differentiated, compelling and authentic brand proposition that will engage all your audiences. Michael has extensive experience working across Australia and the Middle East working with leading Australian and International organisations across just about every sector.

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