Electronic cigarette are becoming a more serious contender for the affections of die-hard smokers. This is happening more with the widespread marketing of two major brands–NJOY and Blu. NJOY’s new King is regarded by some as the closest e-cig on the market to conventional cigarettes. They and other companies that produce transitional models (e-cigs that simulate use of a conventional cigarette) are taking advantage of interesting wordplay.
In 2010, the courts ruled that the FDA could not ban the sale of electronic cigarettes as long as companies weren’t claiming their products could be used for smoking cessation. In the aftermath of this decision, e-cig companies have been, understandably, a bit twitchy about the topic of smoking cessation. Research is finding that electronic cigarettes are quite successful in helping individuals reduce the amount they smoke or quit altogether. This would be a powerful marketing tool if the FDA wasn’t standing at the gates ready to pillage anyone that makes the mistake of saying such.
So companies are using their thesauruses (and legal departments) to figure out what they can get away with. This is why the above ad caught our eye. Cigarettes, you’ve met your match is a great slogan to this end. It can be read as a purely competitive slogan, similar to ads that argue one product is better than another (here’s a fairly memorable one). At the same time, it’s not impossible to imagine an individual “misunderstanding” this slogan to mean that the NJOY King can help them kick the habit.
Another line on this same ad goes even further: Finally, smokers have a real alternative. It’s smart marketing and we’re sure this ad went under the excessive scrutiny of every lawyer NJOY has in its corner. In a single line, we’re told that the King is capable of meeting the needs of a smoker and is better that the other not-so-real alternatives.
Here’s some other words that seem far enough removed from cessation that companies might make suggestive claims without calling down the FDA wrath upon them: replacement, substitute, surrogate, something different, back-up, or even your smoking stand-in.
The appearance of e-cig ads on cable television is a big step. We’ll do our best to keep up with the response of organizations like the FCC and FDA as e-cigs break further and deeper into the collective awareness of the public.