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A Long Way From Marlboro Country

October 15th, 2012

Before Mandated Packaging DesignIn Canberra, Australia, the country’s highest court recently upheld a decision to mandate brand packaging for cigarette manufacturers. Instead of expressing their brand with unique visual features, packages will now contain graphic images of mouth cancer, diseased eyes and sickly children. Beginning in December, no individual logos will be allowed on the packages, no distinctive brand colors will be allowed for background, and every cigarette company must conform to the rather monotone, olive drab standards for packaging.

According to the AP-reported article, the new packages will “feature dire health warnings and graphic photographs of smoking’s health effects. The government, which has urged other countries to adopt similar rules, hopes the new packs will make smoking as unglamorous as possible.”

Graphic, Mandated Packaging DesignApparently some countries have already instituted similar policies on packaging for cigarettes, but Australia’s new laws are the strictest by far. Philip Morris, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and others have fought the new legislation, expressing a concern that the law will set a global precedent that will ultimately hurt the value of their brands by billions of dollars. The cigarette makers challenged the Australian government in court on the grounds that they violate intellectual property rights and affect the value of their trademarks, but lost the case. In the end, the court ruled that the companies must also reimburse the Australia government for legal costs.

While agreeing to comply with the new laws, we can expect these powerful tobacco companies to react aggressively to ensure that the new laws do not trickle down to other nations.  They have already argued that the new standardized packaging will only enable and empower illegal counterfeiters to easily knock off the brands.

The Australian government has already fought to reduce consumption of tobacco products through adding high taxes that are intended to discourage smokers. A pack of 25 cigarettes retails in Australia for about 16 Australian dollars ($17).


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This entry was posted on Monday, October 15th, 2012 at 3:58 pm and is filed under Advertising, Brand Identity, Business, Design, Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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