Vaping On The TV
The UK authorities recently lifted a number of restrictions on electronic cigarette advertising in the UK which prompted the first advert to be aired last night. This is the first time in decades that any form of smoking/vaping has been advertised on mass-market television although even before the advert was aired there was controversy and concern. This now begs the question, with the remaining restrictions on electronic cigarette advertising in the UK, do electronic cigarettes and TV adverts really mix?
Don’t show tobacco in a good light!
One of the stipulations for advertising on UK television is that the adverts should not show tobacco (or should we say smoking?) in a good light. There can only be limited focus upon the electronic cigarette itself which begs the question, what exactly can electronic cigarette companies do?
They are not allowed to show the product in a good light, they are not allowed to appeal to specific parts of the population and any adverts of a provocative nature will likely be banned. The advert which was shown last night was deemed by many, even before it had been aired, to be of a provocative nature showing a lady smoking an electronic cigarette in a specific manner. Then again, how do you actually sell electronic cigarettes on TV to the mass market?
Is the controversy surrounding electronic cigarettes the main selling point?
In many ways it seems that all the larger electronic cigarette companies, often owned by large tobacco groups, are looking to push the boundaries in the short term and see exactly what they can get away with. If you ask the vast majority of people what they remember of the electronic cigarette advert last night they will likely struggle to describe it. However, the vast majority of the vaping community are probably fully aware that the advert was shown, that it was controversial and that it received more press coverage than you would expect.
There is no doubt that controversy does sell, provocative adverts do also attract the attention of customers and social media today is perhaps the best selling tool for the industry. It will be interesting to see which companies invest in UK television advertising campaigns and which ones are content to go down the more traditional non-TV advertising route.
Why is the subject of electronic cigarettes so controversial?
Those who follow the electronic cigarette industry will be well aware that these devices are significantly different from tobacco cigarettes. While we still await the outcome of many ongoing medical trials, the data to date suggests that they are at worst less harmful than their tobacco counterparts and at best, according to some experts, 99% less harmful. Indeed some medical practitioners believe that electronic cigarettes offer the best opportunity we will ever see to reduce tobacco addiction across the world.
In many ways we need to separate electronic cigarettes from their tobacco counterparts, we need to clear the blurred lines between these two very different industries and in many cases the public needs to hear the truth. Individuals and groups with conflicts of interest seem to catch the majority of the airtime not only in UK but also the US and other parts of the world. Whether or not television adverts will ever be a main part of the electronic cigarette industry’s promotional campaign is a matter of hot debate.
Mark Benson is a contributing author for Spinfuel eMagazine. His continuing columns will bring a levelheaded approach to the dynamics involved in realizing a positive future for the e-cigarette industry. For more information on OK Eliquids and other products available please visit the OKCigs website.