There it is – a pack of cigarettes for sale in Australia. There is no logo or brand name whatsoever to be found. Instead, there is a message at the top of the box that says, “Smoking Causes Mouth And Throat Cancer.” Below, is a disgusting image of actual blackened – and missing teeth – and lips covered in horrible sores, the result of mouth cancer.
And I’m glad to see it. Even though, as a marketing consultant and huge proponent of off the wall marketing, I’m all for product branding and logos on packaging.
That’s because a few weeks ago the high court in Australia upheld the Plain Packaging Act, which makes it the first country to ban brand logos on all tobacco packaging. That means Goodbye, Marlboro red-and-white packaging, and hello, cigarette packaging that all looks alike. The packaging will also carry disgustingly graphic images of the horrible health effects of smoking, which is meant to dissuade people from smoking. Especially young people. You’ll see blackened lungs, for example, and images of people who have had a stroke, all due from smoking cigarettes.
Years ago, my husband and I were in Ireland and were stunned to see the huge warnings on packs of cigarettes, which we discovered in a convenience store when we were buying snacks. We wondered why the USA didn’t have such warnings on cigarettes. Maybe the States will follow in the example of Ireland and Australia.
So you can say goodbye to the Marlboro Man in Australia.
The Australian ruling was hailed by health ambassadors all over the world. Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization, said, “With so many countries lined up to ride on Australia’s coattails, what we hope to see is a domino effect for the good of public health.”