on Tuesday Juul confirmed that it plans a national TV and radio ad campaign featuring ex-smokers who used Juul to help them quit smoking cigarettes. Despite TV ads for tobacco products have been banned under federal and state regulations since the 1970s.
Advertising standards have not been formalized for vaping and eLiquids, so it looks like Juul backed by the F you levels of money of the tobacco giant Altria infused into it is willing to take that as a challenge and definitively say that vaping eLiquids is not a tobacco product. Which if we're being honest about our bias here, could be a good thing for the vape industry, but the whole process seems and feels slimey.
As for the TV ads, which Juul posted on its blog, start off with the all too important nicotine warning that you've seen on every thing that may potentially contain nicotine as a dreary kind of muzak note hangs ominously in the background. The ads then go on to give a little personalized story about how they got addicted to smoking and how inconvenient for them that was.
Like magic, they discovered the Juul, and all of their smoking problems went away. Boldly enough each commercial ends by stating that each of these ex-smokers made the switch a few years ago, effectively retro-casting Juul as an effective smoking cessation method proven by years of testimonial. Keep in mind this is all in under a minute, because, ya know, these are advertisements. They are so sound-byte-esque that you can just tell how they can chop these 60 second ads into 30 second ones.
Elizabeth Crisp Crawford, a communications professor at North Dakota State University and author of the book Tobacco Goes to College, says Juul’s campaign will likely target middle-aged viewers, because Millennial and Gen Z consumers don’t really watch TV. She also said Juul’s initial TV budget is small compared to brands like Pepsi. “It’s either a diversion or some kind of PR move. $10 million, it’s nothing."
Clearly this is just a trial to see how media, the public, and legislators will react. This move has to be considered an overt test to the cultural psyche by Altria to see if they can gain an inch in this latest attempt to skirt conventional big tobacco regulation.