R.J. Reynolds Takes To The Airwaves, Storm Likely Coming
According to reports from a number of media outlets, R.J. Reynolds will be airing a 60-second commercial on televisions across Colorado starting mid-September. That commercial will be for the new R.J. Reynolds electronic cigarette brand Vuse. A storm of controversy over the commercials is likely right around the corner.
This is a little different than Blu and Njoy doing their own commercials. Njoy is a solely electronic cigarettes company and Blu, though owned by tobacco giant Lorillard at the time of its first major commercials, still has a very distinctly separate brand and presence.
The Vuse, on the other hand, is a product of R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co. R.J. Reynolds has, for all intensive purposes, been banned from television advertising for some 42 years. This seems very likely to insight anger in many that see the commercial as a way to circumvent tobacco product advertising bans. Even though the product is different, some will almost certainly claim that it exists only as a subversive way of advertising cigarettes and smoking to kids — and that’s regardless of how mature the advertisements are and with what programming the advertisements run.
This could be a good thing though. The debate over whether or not e-cigs can be advertised in ways tobacco can’t may prove to force the discussion more into the open. Figuring out and having an open dialogue on the exact differences between the two products will help tremendously.
Some channels will undoubtedly decide not to take the money and some will. Family groups, the FCC, anti-smoking organizations, politicians, channel executives, private citizens and even television actors seem likely to weigh in.
If we’re learning anything from the development and growth of this industry, it seems to be that more debate, more dialogue, and more attention only helps. This may be the start to something big.