Sampling Young Adult Smokers

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Sampling Young Adult Smokers

This 1984 R.J. Reynolds marketing document indicates how the industry can perpetuate a youth market for cigarettes in the face of increasing advertising restrictions. The report indicates that even more important than advertising is what youth see their peers doing. The report concludes that this is the key to convincing large numbers of young people to smoke, use certain brands, etc. The report indicates how industry can exploit the powerful adolescent need for peer acceptance, in this case to sell cigarettes.


While trial and image work well with regular smokers, a third crucial element comes into play when attempting to convert 'First Usual Brand Young Adult Smokers (FUBYAS),' -- peer acceptance and acceptance projection. Peer acceptance/acceptance projection occurs when a FUBYAS exposes his brand preference to his peers. This exposure is represented by the pack, which in turn, recalls the image and communicates the preference. The pack becomes the image focal point.

When a younger adult smoker pulls out his pack, takes a cigarette from it and lays the pack upon the table, he is sending an important message to his peers. The medium for that message is the pack itself....

The usual sample 12-pack, however, can't communicate acceptance and commitment because its special size and package instantly communicates otherwise. It says, instead, 'I didn't buy this package. I received it as a freebie. Please don't judge me by this brand. Please understand how clever I was to get something for nothing.'

A standard, full pack, whether purchased or sampled, strongly suggests commitment and acceptance. If the standard pack were used as the sample, those accepting it would present to their peers a signal of acceptance and commitment, bringing the brand into the lifestyle of the target.

...FUBYAS are aware of their life-style accoutrements, and how those things are perceived by their peers. They must always project that they are 'with it' and 'together' -- i,e, conforming to the standards of the group. Their life-style decisions must appear solid and unwavering -- i.e., they must project a priori acceptance rather than the desire to be accepted - so they are consequently highly sensitized about how they communicate through these artifacts....the beer and liquor they drink, the clothes they wear, (especially t-shirts), what they read; all add to the message sum. The brand of cigarettes they smoke is perhaps one of the most powerful signals they can send...

Author TAYLOR SHAIN (Marketing and advertising company)
Date 19840000
Bates 502191501/1502
Collection RJ Reynolds
Pages 2

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