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Harmful labels work the other way round: Martin Lindstrom

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MUMBAI: The cigarette industry has actually gained from the ‘harmful labels‘ that come along with the packs, said noted brand consultant Martin Lindstrom.

Speaking at the World Brand Congress 2010 here today, Lindstrom said the government‘s steps to reduce smoking through mandatory cautionary messages have been ineffective and have actually worked the other way round.

In his study of neuroscience and sensory branding, Lindstrom found that cigarette packs with warning failed to dissuade smokers; on the contrary, it encouraged them to smoke more.

 

India, in fact, should take a lesson from this as the government has continuously come down heavily on the cigarette industry. Advertising is banned and cigarette packs come with gory and cruel images of people afflicted by various smoking related diseases. In spite of all these restrictions by the government, a recently concluded survey shows that smoking around the world has increased by over 11 per cent. 

 

"Governments in Europe are thinking of asking the cigarette manufacturers to have no logos or messages on their cigarette packs. This may actually dissuade people from smoking," said Lindstrom, the author of Buyology - Truth and Lies About Why We Buy.

Highlighting the importance of subliminal advertising, Lindstrom cited the example of the mysterious barcode on Ferrari F1 cars. The European Public Health Commissioner claimed that the red, white and black barcode was designed to look like a packet of Marlboro cigarettes. This kind of surrogate advertising, vehemently denied by both Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo and the owners of Marlboro, is actually banned on F1 cars.

 

Lindstrom said the colour of Ferrari F1 cars is carefully chosen to match the red on a Marlboro packet. Hence by not even mentioning the name of the brand, this colour creates an urge in the smoker to light a tab.

The brand futurist also discussed the various aspects of Somatic Markers. In one of his surveys, people were made to eat McDonald‘s French fries in two different packets - one with a logo and the other without one. "French fries in a packet with logo tasted 96 percent better than the one with no logo. This is the result of people‘s association or connection with a brand," Linstrom elaborated.

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