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Cigarette ads reach the fag end

03-May-2004
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Cigarette ads reach the fag end

‘Live life kingsize’ screamed huge billboards displaying the brand proposition of Four Square cigarettes for many years. As Centre’s ban on all advertisements relating to tobacco-related products kicked in from Saturday, these king-sized hoardings will not have even an inch-space to convey their brand messages.

Falling in line with the move, many tobacco companies have removed all their hoardings and outdoor advertising campaigns overnight in Mumbai.

So, what about the impact of the ban on the Indian advertising industry, given that the total tobacco ad-spend in the country is around Rs 400 crore?

Said Preet Bedi, president, Rediffusion DY&R: “There will be an impact on some agencies that handle tobacco advertising business. But the industry will take this in its stride”.

Tobacco companies are expected to lay greater emphasis on surrogate ads in the wake of the ban, on the lines of liquor advertising. Besides, with point-of-sale ads being allowed for tobacco products, they are also expected to woo vendors to spruce up the neighbourhood street corner shops.

Rediffusion DY&R handles the advertising accounts of Godfrey Philips’ three brands - Four Square, Red & White and Jaisalmer.

As for the impact of the ban on Rediffusion DY&R, Mr Bedi admitted that it would affect the agency to a certain extent. “But we’ll manage,” he added.

According to R Balakri-shnan, national creative director at Lowe India, the agency which handles two tobacco accounts, IndiaKings and Ber-keley, the ban will certainly im-pact his agency’s ad revenues to an extent. “We will manage with this cut in ad revenue,” he said.

Piyush Pandey, chairman and national creative director of Ogilvy & Mather (O&M) India said: “ I am sure agencies have planned their budgeting accordingly. We do not handle any tobacco ad business at O&M.”

Tarun Rai, senior vice president and general manager, JWT India, handling ITC’s flagship brand Wills, said: “When there’s no ban on the sale of the products, why should there be a ban on advertising tobacco products?” Point valid, but for now, some agencies will have to grin and bear the situation.

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