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Tobacco manufacturer brand strategy following plain packaging in Australia: implications for social responsibility and policy

Greenland, Steven J., Johnson, Lester and Seifi, Shahla (2016). Tobacco manufacturer brand strategy following plain packaging in Australia: implications for social responsibility and policy. Social Responsibility Journal,12(2):321-334.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Altmetric Score Altmetric Score is 23
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Title Tobacco manufacturer brand strategy following plain packaging in Australia: implications for social responsibility and policy
Author Greenland, Steven J.
Johnson, Lester
Seifi, Shahla
Journal Name Social Responsibility Journal
Publication Date 2016
Volume Number 12
Issue Number 2
Start Page 321
End Page 334
Total Pages 13
Place of Publication United Kingdom
Publisher Emerald Publishing Limited
Abstract Purpose
This paper aims to inform social responsibility and social policy by describing the brand strategy of Australia’s largest tobacco manufacturer, British American Tobacco Australia (BATA), the year following the introduction of plain packaging and other regulation. Tobacco controls are a proven catalyst for reducing smoking, but manufacturers adapt swiftly seeking to minimise the impact of regulatory change.

Design/methodology/approach

BATA’s strategy was determined using 2012-2014 tobacco ingredient reports, recommended retail price lists and a supermarket retail audit.

Findings
The research identified over 70 BATA brand variants, offered in diverse packaging options, with new products and modified names appearing since 2012. In total 14 main brands are highly differentiated by price, with 45 per cent difference between the cheapest and the most expensive. Volume discounting occurs across packaging ranges, with twin packs offering best value and prices up to 10 per cent lower than those of single packs.

Originality/value
The research originality stems from the triangulation of three different data resources to establish brand strategy following increased regulation. The study confirms ongoing market segmentation using highly differentiated ranges, and it reveals the unintended consequences of corporate responses to regulation. Evolving variant names communicate product information and imagery previously imparted by pack design. Pricing strategies enable smokers to offset substantial excise increases through brand switching and volume buying. The research, therefore, reveals the potential for regulating these as yet unrestricted elements to enhance the impact of plain packaging and other tobacco controls, thereby further reducing the social impact of smoking.
Keywords Price
Regulation
Social responsibility
Plain packaging
Smoking
Tobacco band strategy
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/SRJ-09-2015-0127   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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Created: Mon, 05 Jun 2017, 11:36:22 CST by Marion Farram