Tomorrow, Our Dishonourable Fiend, Health Secretary Andy Burnham is to unveil his new ‘crackdown’ on the freedom to smoke.
We have moved from ‘your child is not your own’ to ‘your home is not your own’. He wants to ban parents from lighting up at home or in their car when travelling with children. Quite how he intends to do that, unless he is planning to bribe children with rewards for shopping their parents – which will come, mark my words – is anybody’s guess.
His master stroke though, in this remake of ‘It’s a Grey, Grey, world’, is to call upon an undeclared study which alleges that children believe cigarettes in ‘glitzy attractive packets’ are less harmful, to insist that all cigarettes are sold in plain grey packets with the brand name in plain text above a government health warning.
Marketing guru B J Cunningham could teach him a thing or two about selling cigarettes in plain grey packs with just a dour warning that they are a one stop route to an early coffin.
He found himself in financial difficulties when his car importing business collapsed, with the result ‘that he lost everything except his debts’. He pledged his overdraft to start The Enlightened Tobacco Company, which held the rights to manufacture DEATH Cigarettes. Sold in a plain and defiantly non-glitzy package, with a skull and crossbones prominently displayed, they were a resounding success.Â So much so that when he started a direct marketing scheme he was roundly sat upon by the combined weight of the UK Tobacco giants via the European Court of Justice.
The purpose of marketing is to sell you a product you neither want nor need. King Edward potatoes have never needed to be dressed up with colourful packaging. Nor pushed to the forefront of the store display with the offer of two for one. Tea didn’t require any advertising until a genius decided to package it in portion control and start a sales war based on whether the package was round or square.
Andy Burnham has just ensured that cigarettes are seen as an essential staple that the responsible shopper remembers to add to the shopping bag every week before gliding down the aisles of the maybe I shall, maybe I shan’t, can I afford to be seduced so, output of the marketing gurus.
Did I remember to tell you that there has so far been no outcry from the Tobacco Industry at this latest initiative? I can’t think why…….