By: Zuhair Alzuhairi (@Zee811)
A sales promotion is most simply defined as a, “promotion that supplements or coordinates advertising.” It is some form of persuasive communication that provides incentives or added value to customers, sales staff, or distribution channel members (such as retailers) and is employed for a predetermined limited time to improve consumer demand, improve market demand, or improve product availability.
The goal of offering a sales promotion is to stimulate immediate sales through motivating product interest, trial, or purchase. Examples of sales promotions include: coupons, product samples, sweepstakes, point-of-purchase displays, rebates, and premiums. Trade sales promotions are sales promotions targeted at retailers and wholesalers; whereas, sales promotions targeted at the consumer are categorized as consumer sales promotions.
Given the high regulations placed on this industry, the most effective form of advertising for the Phillip-Morris based Marlboro company has is their website. It offers smokers several sales promotions, including sending those registered on the website coupons monthly. However, access to the website is difficult to obtain and is limited to 21 and over smokers who will provide exceptionally personal information like their Social Security number and Date of Birth just so an age confirmation can be performed. Tobacco advertising has adapted and persevered over the years and through different regulations, but there is only so much that can be taken away. Tobacco advertising was first banned from TV and radio and later from outdoor, billboard, or transportation devices.
Most recently, active June 22nd, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Tobacco Control Act that placed extensive constraints on the circulation of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to minors. Newly effective with this act, “audio advertisements are not permitted to contain any music or sound effects, while video advertisements are limited to static black text on a white background.” This act also prohibits tobacco companies from sponsoring sports, music, and other cultural events or advertising on T-shirts, hats, or other apparel. Eventually, law will be written into legislator requiring tobacco sales advertising or promotion to consist only of black text on a white background.
It is important that companies from any industry are receptive and flexible with the demand of various sales promotions. Marlboro was known as having some of the best advertising in print and video for years and are hopefully creative enough to triumph again through the recently passed stringent regulations. Don Draper best explains it in a meeting with Lucky Strike shortly after the FDA publicly begins war on tobacco: