Better late than never, China finally butts out ads.

7 Jan

There are doubtless readers of this post who cannot remember a time in their lives when they saw cigarettes advertised.

Now China has joined the ranks of developed countries by banning all cigarette advertising, some 25 years after their more progressive southern appendage, Hong Kong, introduced the same legislation.

Not a moment too soon for China, as 31% of their adult population smoke according to this article. That’s roughly 360 million people. Imagine how many of those are doctors.

The hard line government has also prohibited smoking in certain definitions of public spaces. Moreover, cigarette packs will now feature some of the diseased lungs, rotted teeth and aborted fetuses we have come to know and love on Canadian packs.

India 2005, China 2011. That can’t spell double happiness for the cigarette manufacturers.


5 Responses to “Better late than never, China finally butts out ads.”

  1. Renee January 7, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    I just started watching older episodes of “Mad Men” recently, and, in case you’ve not watched it (though I suspect you have), there is such an interesting treatment of smoking and advertising in that show. Your entry this morning gave me a sense of time travel. Such a huge difference in the way cigarettes were featured in advertising over 50 years ago.

    I’m glad to see it changing. Quitting smoking four years ago was one of the best things I ever did in my entire life. It’s incredible how much of my choice to smoke back in the day was influenced by the “glamour” of it depicted in movies and in print.

    As always, a timely, observant entry by Copeland.

  2. Dennis van Lith January 7, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    I think the cigarette companies can finally rejoice as they no long need to compete in the ad world. This levels the playing field for big and small companies as it has here. And while it may mean a loss of new smokers it will undoubtedly result in increased profits as ad spending is cut.

  3. dougbrowncreative January 7, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    > Renee, when I worked in Hong Kong, our agency advertised Kent. I would find a carton on my desk every Monday morning, which I would diligently try to get through before the next Monday. It wasn’t elegant like in Mad Men, but everybody did it anyway. There, the ciggie companies have moved their advertising muscle over into event sponsorship, which you can expect to see a lot of in China now.

    > It’s an interesting point of view Dennis, but I think the big companies will still spend the money, per the reply to Renee. With cigarettes, the bigger International brands have the “foreign” cache that has always worked amongst younger mainland Chinese smokers. So they will be looking for ways around the ban. Thanks for the comment.

  4. mike fromowitz January 7, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    Did you know: 3-year-old Chinese girl, Ya Wen, smokes & drinks beer as therapy from traffic accident injuries.

  5. dougbrowncreative January 7, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    She’s probably too young to read ads Mike, so she will likely stick with her brand.

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