Philip Morris is quitting cigarettes.
The American tobacco giant made a major statement early this year. The company’s new objective is to cease the production and sale of traditional cigarettes in the coming months. Is this a genius marketing strategy, or a real decision to change it’s entire product range? Journalist King Kate looked into this decision.
The group behind the biggest cigarette brands such as Marlboro, L&M, and Chesterfield, has been communicating a great deal on this new decision. A major advertising campaign was unveiled in the United Kingdom in the first week of the new year. Entire newspaper pages were dedicated to broadcasting this news concerning Philip Morris’s new direction.
The international group has stated a desire to encourage smokers to quit traditional cigarettes. Even their website now lists the health hazards of smoking, and invites customers to switch to less dangerous alternatives. Of these, the American company is pushing in particular for e-cigarettes but also the IQOS device, a heat-not-burn smoking device developed by the company.
True or false?
In 2017, André Calantzopoulos, the international Philip Morris branch manager, made a similar promise. This year, the multinational has decided to broadcast their new philosophy far and wide to reach as many consumers as possible. A successful strategy, as the press picked up on it immediately. The Amarican group has a significant advantage in driving this media hype, as it puts the spotlight on the new IQOS, Philip Morris’s flagship product in this new market.
However, a number of health professionals are surprised by the company’s 180° turn. In their opinion, the tobacco manufacturer is attempting to manipulate public opinion. The objective? To clean up their image on the world’s stage. Proving a similar opinion, the World Health Organisation refused to associate with the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. This association, created in 2017, is in large part funded by Philip Morris.
The coming months will reveal if Philip Morris can keep its promises and cease all traditional cigarette selling business. 2018 could be a pivotal year for the firm who recently celebrated their 170th birthday.