TUESDAY 23 OCT 2018 2:40 PM


When public opinion drastically opposes everything a brand has historically stood for, its positioning and communications are drawn into question. For tobacco brands, the rise in e-cigarettes and healthier lifestyles has forced companies to think about their positioning around smoking and, in some cases, contradict their histories in order to prepare their brands for the future.

Case in point, American multinational cigarette and tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris Limited has launched a new campaign called ‘Hold my light’ that advocates for smokers to give up cigarettes. This campaign marks the first time a tobacco company has actively discouraged smoking.

The new Philip Morris campaign is part of the brand’s commitment to decrease the number of smokers, aligning with its belief that quitting nicotine is always the right decision.

Peter Nixon, managing director of Philip Morris, says, “This campaign breaks new ground which is an important next step in our company going smoke-free and ultimately stop selling cigarettes. There are more options than ever before for smokers to give up cigarettes but often they don’t realise that alternatives, like e-cigarettes and heated tobacco are a better choice than continuing to smoke. Our research has shown that smokers want personal support from friends and family if they are to give up cigarettes – and that is what ‘Hold My Light’ is designed to offer.”

The new campaign calls on smokers’ friends and families, encouraging them to support their loved ones in ditching tobacco. Through ’Hold my light’ smokers are told to ask from friends and family insignificant, practical ‘bribes’ to receive if they succeed in quitting smoking for an initial 30 days. The number of days was not random; the choice is based on Public Health England’s research revealing that if a smoker manages to quit for 28 days, they are five times more likely to quit permanently. 

The campaign has cost Philip Morris a substantial £2m and consists of a webs, video and advertising assets running across digital and print media.  

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