According to one Australian study, making all cigarette packets look the same reduces the positive feelings smokers associate with specific brands and encourages quitting. Due to this, all cigarettes being sold in UK and Ireland have been sold in plain olive packets with standard fonts and graphic health warnings.
The reason behind is to make cigarettes less appealing, so that people would not take up smoking in the first place. However, more smokers than expected have ditched the habit.
Loss of brand affinity may help smokers quit their habit (c) Montreal Gazette
Hugh Webb at the Australian National University in Canberra said, this drop in smoking popularity can be partly explained by a loss of brand affinity. He added, people derive a sense of belonging and identity from brands, “marketers are extremely savvy about cultivating these brand identities.”
Webb and his colleagues' research suggests that ever since plain packaging was implemented, brand identity and positive brand stereotypes have significantly declined.
This dog gotta see the plain packages
For the study, the researchers surveyed 178 smokers immediately before and seven months after the policy change and found that they were significantly less likely to adhere to any particular brand after the change.
The participants also less likely to rate typical smokers of that brand as having positive traits like trendiness or sophistication.
“We typically think that the primary drivers for why people smoke are individual personality traits or biological factors,” Webb says. “But this understates the symbolic power of brand identities and brand stereotypes in maintaining smoking behavior.”