Here's a riddle for you. In the fifties they made you cool, in the eighties and nineties they made you dangerous, today they identify you as a few bricks shy of a load. This December a law will come into effect, mandating that all cigarettes sold in Australia be stocked in small, plain box storage containers. Read on to learn what this means for tobacco companies and consumers.
Here’s a riddle for you. In the fifties they made you cool, in the eighties and nineties they made you dangerous, today they identify you as a few bricks shy of a load. This December a law will come into effect, mandating that all cigarettes sold in Australia be stocked in small, plain box storage containers. Read on to learn what this means for tobacco companies and consumers.
One’s appearance is often thought of as one’s livelihood. The same thought can be applied to product packaging. Without means to stand apart from the competition consumers may not be drawn to purchase any brand of cigarettes. The law requiring cigarettes to be packaged in plain box storage containers could hit the tobacco industry hard.
The plain box storage containers that Australian lawmakers are planning to package cigarettes in aren’t as plain as their name may lead on. Clean and sterile panels are as basic as you can get when it comes to a flying-under-the-radar design, but the government has other plans. Though void of company logos and other markings, the storage containers will be strategically decorated with the intent to repulse prospective buyers.
“Plain” isn’t the exact word I would use to describe Australia’s proposed plain storage containers. These boxes don’t intend on boring consumers into inactivity with a dull and uninspiring appearance, but with the help of a notoriously disliked color (olive green) and graphic medical imagery, they aim to be frighteningly captivating. Fear is a useful marketing tool but is it effective enough to break addictions? Only Australia will tell.
Most of us are well aware that smoking is bad for the body. We’ve heard about the correlations to Cancer and don’t really need a disturbing photo to let us know it’s not a practice to keep. So, how can plain storage containers make a difference? The root of the issue isn’t based on the appearance of the storage containers but instead on the message they convey to consumers. Altering the message and meanings of the product through the packaging appearance is the key to defeating tobacco addition in Australia.
The design you find on storage containers may turn out to be more suggestive than was originally led on. Not there to merely entertain the eyes, certain characteristics are meant to appeal to someone of a certain economic status or lifestyle. Plain packaging storage containers don’t have a target audience to attract, but instead aim to disgust everyone. Smoking cigarettes from plain storage containers carries the weight of influencing one’s reputation. Making the act of smoking social suicide is one way to move toward ending addictions.
Is it right for design power to be taken from these cigarette giants? They sure don’t think so. The Australian tobacco companies’ arguments against plain storage containers are based on international trademark and intellectual property law infringements, not to mention ranting about the potential of illicit trading (plain storage containers will be easy to counterfeit). The government defends their decision based on the death toll associated with tobacco (responsible for an estimated 15,000 deaths a year). They say the goods are no longer considered a normal product and that special status introduces the need for government involvement. Things don’t look too hot for the tobacco guys and though they maintain a strong face, chances are plain storage containers are going to make them hurt in ways they’ve never experienced before.
The Marlboro man is an iconic character in American culture, for now that is. With drastic laws regarding plain storage containers happening in Australia and rumored to take up shape in the U.K. and Canada, it seems as if only time stands between the anti-tobacco movement, via packaging and the U.S. Design is a powerful tool; but will it stand firm in the face of a dangerous product ? That’s the question we all must ask ourselves.