Big Tobacco the target in new vaping campaign

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AUCKLAND, Today: PR man for Alt New Zealand, Cameron Brewer, has busy been sending an advance to media about the latest vaping marketing campaign set to hit our screens from this weekend.

Alt has grown to become the largest Kiwi-owned vaping company, with the Vapo brand its best known. The campaign’s timing isn’t bad, given the government this week indicated it will likely ban all advertising and marketing associated with vaping in the coming months.

A prolific publicist for Auckland businesses, Brewer has been brought in by Alt NZ to navigate the pending legislation and regulation. “It’s a good fit, given my experience as a parliamentary press secretary and an Auckland councillor,” (plus five years as a business advocate for the Newmaket Business Association.

Alt’s latest creative effort was produced largely in-house. Brewer says it’s “possibly the last significant marketing campaign for vaping.”

The Alt campaign, which will include televisions commercials after 8.30pm, comes as Big Tobacco gets more aggressive promoting the likes of their smokeless tobacco devices in the community.

Brewer said: “The Government is about to introduce legislation to regulate vaping. Revelations this week point to a complete ban on television, social media on all other forms of advertising – akin to the well-established marketing prohibition around tobacco.

“Alt believes Big Tobacco’s attitude and antics have been damaging to the whole sector.”

Alt NZ director Jonathan Devery says many people still confuse vaping with smoking. However, he says, Alt’s latest marketing campaign clearly differentiates between the two.

“What our campaign will highlight is just how ridiculous it is that we can’t show people smoking nor can we make any health claims about vaping despite its effectiveness.

“So, tongue in cheek, this campaign replaces people holding cigarettes with people holding a carrot, broccolini, rhubarb, or a banana.

“Our campaign highlights the absurdity that we can’t show people smoking nor can we make health claims about vaping despite its effectiveness.”

“While we can’t promote any health benefits around vaping, we absolutely nail smoking for killing 12 Kiwis a day, the black lungs you see on the packets, the skin damage it causes, as well as of course costing many people thousands of dollars a year.”

He says with Big Tobacco recently pouring significant money into advertising of their own vaping products, Alt felt it was necessary to launch its second major marketing campaign to prevent the billion-dollar multi-national companies from robbing Kiwi-owned companies like theirs of market share.

“What’s more, Big Tobacco strategically markets in a way that avoids them coming clean with the general public that they’re in fact the owners and drivers of these cute vaping brands. That’s not right.”

The New Zealand vaping entrepreneur says vaping is proven to be the most effective smoking cessation tool on the market and is playing a critical role in getting Kiwis off tobacco and leading healthier lives.

He and his business partner, Ben Pryor, agree with restricting vaping marketing akin to the alcohol industry. However, they do not believe that vaping should be treated like tobacco and all marketing prohibited as smokers need to be aware that a healthier alternative is available.

“The Government is currently driving a great campaign to encourage New Zealand smokers to switch to vaping. Our latest campaign reinforces that strategy and message, even if we’re forced to be somewhat imaginative,” Pryor says. “However, the prospect of completely banning all advertising around the most effective tool society currently has to reduce smoking will be completely counterproductive.

“We actually believe most Kiwis support advertising restrictions for vaping but not an outright ban. We also believe that clear guidelines for the industry are well overdue. Currently we don’t know where we stand and nor does the public, so no doubt the Advertising Standards Authority will get a few emails as a result of our campaign. However, an outright ban would be like taking a sledgehammer to a nut – completely over the top.”

“Going forward we believe it’s critical to keep informing Kiwis that vaping is an effective tool for smokers to quit and is 95% less harmful than cigarettes. That’s the only way New Zealand will ever get close to achieving its ambition of being a smoke-free country.

“Banning all vaping marketing won’t help reduce our smoking rates. Companies like ours should be able to advertise in a restricted and regulated environment. We need to be able to target smoking with a healthier alternative, all while protecting young and vulnerable Kiwis and communities.”

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