Sales Here with Cynthia Harley

Communications student exploring sales and advertising

E-Cig Ad Regulations


Not going to lie to you dear readers, as an occasional smoker myself I have bought an electronic cigarette before.  And due to the advertisements that I had previously seen on television I chose to go with the Blu e cig.  There really isn’t any other affordable disposable e-cig company pushing their product on a national level like Blu is. 

And good news for electronic cigarette companies because as of Friday, the FDA has decided to continue to allow television advertisements of the product.  The electronic cigarette industry has an estimated worth of 2 billion dollars and will continue to sky rocket with their unhindered regulations. 

As far as regularly big tobacco companies they are most certainly feeling threatened in the wake of the decision.  After all, they haven’t been able to advertise in the traditional sense since 1971.  What’s even more disheartening for them is that it is believed the FDA’s decision to place mild restraints on e-cig advertising based upon scientific evidence for the product to be less harmful than actual tobacco.  E-cig companies haven’t so much taken the health route for promoting the electronic devices but rather touting them as a way to beat the ban of cigarettes in public places since the vapor is odorless and at this point believed to be equally as harmless. 

Blu has even garnered some celebrity endorsements from Jenny McCarthy in one of their commercials.  All of which indicates that electronic cigarette companies will opt for some of big tobacco companies’ former marketing strategies of making the product look hip.   Regardless of the lack of advertising digression the FDA is planning to limit the product being advertised to minors through the ban of free giveaways, as well as not allowing minors to buy the product.

The FDA’s regulations come in full effect two years from now, leaving complete leeway for whatever advertising electronic cigarettes deem helpful.  And two years for the big tobacco companies to roll out some of their own e-cig products.    

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Cafetaria Fallout

As part of Michelle O’Bama’s “Let’s Move” campaign schools now have stricter advertising laws concerning their food sponsors.  Snack foods and beverage companies, especially soda brands, that are deemed unhealthy under the mandate may not be advertised on school campuses.  Even score boards with soda logos on will have to find another advertisers when replaced.  Michelle O’Bama at the conference this past Tuesday did explain that scoreboards with ads contradicting the mandate will not need to be immediately replaced.  

The scoreboards are not the only means of advertisements being examined.  The front of vending machines, lunch table mats are going to be revised to fit under the mandate.  In fact, 93% of snack marketing comes from beverage companies.  And most interesting of all is regular soda cannot be advertised but diet can.  Which if you’ve ever seen any of the news about artificial sweeteners, you too would deem this clause somewhat counter productive.  

Its flattering to marketers everywhere that the presidents administration finds the mild form of food advertising to be so impactful on even high school students (as far as I know there’s not differentiation between primary and secondary schools).  It’s to be noted, that schools will still have complete discretion over their food ad campaigns during fundraisers.  School concession stands are exempt from the mandate as well.  

From a political standpoint, the government can do with the public school systems as they please but from a marketing department’s, it simply makes their jobs harder marketing to the younger crowd.  Keyword there, harder not impossible.  Advertisers will always find a way around trivial obstacles.    

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