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作者: 来源: 日期:2016/10/8 8:19:56

Canny marketing makes cigarettes hot property





The tobacco industry should be dead by now. Billions of dollars in lawsuits, public health campaigns, heavy restrictions on advertising, none have succeed in killing it. Forty million Americans still smoke — 15 per cent of women and about 20 per cent of men. Chances are they’ll die a decade before non-smokers but they keep lighting up.



Around the world, antismoking campaigns have succeeded in stabilising the rise in the number of smokers. In China, sales are falling. In Australia, cigarettes must be sold in drab green packages covered in pictures of tumours, diseased hearts and lungs, and dying smokers. The brand name can only appear in small font on the front. The logic is that “unbranded” cigarettes are less appealing to the young who might otherwise see them as a statement of fashion or rebellion.



Yet, for all this, tobacco companies have proved crafty and resilient. This week John Boehner, the Republican former speaker of the House of Representatives, joined the board of Reynolds American, the makers of Camel and Newport. Mr Boehner is a Camel Ultra-Lights man and his job will be to speak for tobacco in Washington.

然而,尽管如此,烟草公司已被证明足智多谋且灵活善变。最近,美国前众议院议长、共和党人约翰•博纳(John Boehner)加入雷诺美国(Reynolds American)董事会,该公司是骆驼香烟(Camel)和新港(Newport)香烟的生产商。博纳是骆驼超醇香烟(Camel Ultra-Lights)的爱好者,他的工作将是在华盛顿为烟草公司辩护。广州医药翻译公司。


During the summer, Newport engaged in its first direct-to-consumer marketing campaign in 15 years, promoting its menthol cigarettes at music festivals around the country using the Newport Pleasure Lounge, an air-conditioned trailer for smokers. Menthols, Newport reckons, have new potential among younger consumers who crave flavour. They provide all the hit of a traditional cigarette with a cool blast of mint. Anyone willing to drink Budweiser’s Lime-A-Rita beer margarita, goes the theory, will be willing to take up menthols. Whether these are the deranged ravings of product marketing or truth, only the market will tell.

今年夏季,新港展开了15年来首次直接面向消费者的营销活动,利用为吸烟者准备的一辆配有空调的拖车Newport Pleasure Lounge,在全国各地的音乐节上促销其薄荷香烟。新港估计,薄荷香烟在渴求风味的较年轻消费者中具有新的潜力。它们提供传统香烟的所有提神效果,同时加上了一种清凉的薄荷浓香。按照这种理论,任何一个希望饮用百威(Budweiser)青柠丽塔啤酒(Lime-A-Rita)的人都愿意尝试薄荷香烟。这些是产品营销的疯言疯语还是事实,只有市场能够作出评判。


Japan Tobacco recently entered the US market with its inexpensive LD cigarettes. In North Carolina, the home of US tobacco, where prices are among the lowest, a pack of LD costs just over half the price of a pack of Marlboro. Japan Tobacco’s logic is that the antismoking movement in the US is waning. There are fewer lawsuits, prices keep rising and the decline in the number of smokers seems to have slowed.

日本烟草公司(Japan Tobacco)最近进入美国市场,推出了价格不高的乐迪(LD)香烟。在美国烟草的故乡北卡罗来纳州,一包乐迪香烟的售价仅为万宝路(Marlboro)的一半多一点,而该州的香烟价格处于全球最低之列。日本烟草公司的逻辑是,美国的禁烟运动正在衰落。诉讼数量减少,价格持续上涨,吸烟者数量的下滑趋势似乎已放缓。广州医药翻译公司。


It feels as though, after years of hiding in plain sight, the tobacco industry is once again ready to strut. Yet, for investors, the product has never stopped churning out returns. A recent report from Credit Suisse covering industries with data going back to 1900 showed that tobacco had performed best, with an annualised return of 14.6 per cent compared with an average of 9.6 per cent. A dollar invested in tobacco companies in 1900 would have grown, with reinvested dividends, to $38,255 by the end of 2014. If you had invested the same dollar in shipbuilding and shipping, you would have a measly $1,225.

感觉好像是,在经过多年在人们眼皮底下藏身后,烟草行业正准备再次昂首阔步。然而,对于投资者而言,这种产品从未停止产生利润。瑞信(Credit Suisse)最近一份报告囊括了各种行业,数据回溯到1900年。报告显示,烟草行业表现最佳,年化回报率达到14.6%,而平均水平为9.6%。如果你在1900年投资烟草公司1美元,并将股息用于再投资,到2014年底这笔投资将增值至3.8255万美元。如果你用同样的钱投资造船和航运业,你只能拿回区区1225美元。


The California Public Employees’ Retirement System sold its tobacco holdings 16 years ago, in the thick of the litigation against tobacco companies, but has said it may reconsider its decision.

16年前,加州公务员养老体系(California Public Employees Retirement System)出售了其在烟草公司的持股,当时抵制烟草公司的诉讼非常多,但该机构表示,可能会重新考虑其决定。

So what’s the secret? At one level, it’s simple. Cigarettes are cheap to make and highly addictive, which allows for fat margins. And customers are loyal to their brands. Snag them when they are young and chances are you’ll have them until they give up or die.



But tobacco companies have also proved remarkably innovative in the face of apparently existential threats. Chewing tobacco sales have been creeping up. The market in ecigarettes, which heat tobacco fluid rather than burning cured leaves, is rapidly growing as companies figure out how deliver more nicotine per puff and send it deep into a smoker’s lungs. Sixteen per cent of school pupils aged 17-18 had smoked ecigarettes in the past year, according to US government estimates.



Cigarette companies have even ridden the organic wave. Reynolds American makes Natural American Spirit cigarettes, which it describes as “natural”, “additive free” and made with organic tobacco. The packets show a figure of a native American smoking a long pipe.

烟草公司甚至搭上了有机的浪潮。雷诺美国生产了Natural American Spirit香烟,称其为“天然”、“无添加剂”而且用有机烟草生产。香烟包装上是一张美国原住民抽旱烟的图片。广州医药翻译公司。


Antismoking campaigners say, call them what you like, the cigarettes are just as bad for you as any other. But the marketing message — that somehow in smoking them you are tapping into some ancient, herbal ritual — goes down especially well with hipsters. A packet of Natural American Spirit is acceptable in environments where Marlboro is not.

禁烟活动人士(你怎么称呼都行)表示,这种香烟和其他香烟一样对人体有害。但这种营销信息(吸这种烟会让你重拾一些古老的、草本的仪式)尤其受到潮人的欢迎。在万宝路不被接受的某些环境,一包Natural American Spirit可以让人接受。


Tobacco companies also benefit from rising incomes in emerging economies. Even if the number of smokers is stagnant or falling in many places, you can keep pushing up the price of cigarettes as wages rise in emerging markets to compensate. If you put aside the health consequences, a pack of 20 remains a cheap thrill.



For those who have rightly been banging on for years about the iniquity of tobacco companies, it must be maddening. For every blow they land, the industry feints into new areas of profitability. It seems quite possible that, 100 years from now, it will still be churning out cash at a rate to turn the rest of the Dow Jones green.

对于那些多年来正当抨击烟草公司罪恶的人而言,这肯定令人恼火。每当他们展开抨击时,该行业都会虚晃一枪,进入新的盈利领域。100年后,该行业仍将实现高额利润,而其利润率将让道琼斯指数(Dow Jones)其他股票艳羡。


The writer is author of ‘What They Teach You at Harvard Business School’

本文作者著有《你在哈佛商学院能学到什么》(What They Teach You at Harvard Business School)一书