tocacco plant Native American Tobaccoo flower, leaves, and buds

tocacco Tobacco is an annual or bi-annual growing 1-3 meters tall with large sticky leaves that contain nicotine. Native to the Americas, tobacco has a long history of use as a shamanic inebriant and stimulant. It is extremely popular and well-known for its addictive potential.

tocacco nicotina Nicotiana tabacum

tocacco Nicotiana rustica leaves. Nicotiana rustica leaves have a nicotine content as high as 9%, whereas Nicotiana tabacum (common tobacco) leaves contain about 1 to 3%

tocacco cigar A cigar is a tightly rolled bundle of dried and fermented tobacco which is ignited so that its smoke may be drawn into the mouth. Cigar tobacco is grown in significant quantities in Brazil, Cameroon, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Sumatra, Philippines, and the Eastern United States.

tocacco Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the fresh leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as an organic pesticide, and in the form of nicotine tartrate it is used in some medicines. In consumption it may be in the form of cigarettes smoking, snuffing, chewing, dipping tobacco, or snus.

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Tobacco is stealing a march on alcohol

REMEMBER Benson & Hedges? British American Tobacco (BAT) SA in 2007 discontinued the gold-packeted cigarette and


tried to shift smokers to a similar- tasting brand, Kent.

To push the message, BAT used a clever tactic. The company covered Kent boxes in Benson & Hedges wrappers, so that people buying them opened the packet — to find Kent underneath.

“ It was classic marketing,” says Mark Ansley, a portfolio manager at Cadiz Asset Management in Cape Town.

Forced out of mainstream TV and print advertising by legal restrictions, tobacco companies have had to become nimble. While the loss of traditional media is a disadvantage, it has forced tobacco makers to take opportunities where they arise.

“Consumer companies wanting to market goods have to find more innovative ways to do it. Tobacco companies have got 10 years’ advantage,” Ansley says.

Companies such as BAT, with a 90% share of SA’s cigarette market, are adamant that they do not seek to circumvent advertising restrictions.

They are not allowed to target nonsmokers or children. The latest restriction, the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act, last year outlawed direct communication with consumers, limiting promotion on new-media sites such as Facebook.

Companies focus, instead, on influencing trade customers — bar staff, restaurant owners and the like — so that they recommend a brand to consumers.

“In terms of corporate culture, there is an entrepreneurialism in tobacco companies and an instinct to try new things,” says Brendan Wade, MD of studio4332 , an advertising agency specialising in below-the- line ( not traditional advertising) digital communication.

But how good are other companies? Restrictions aside, a wealth of new channels compete with the traditional ones and allow advertisers to target a specific market group more effectively than the scatter-gun approach of traditional media.

However, alcohol producers are slow to grasp this, Wade says. “They’re demonstrating a weird inability to bridge the gap, whereas the tobacco guys are incredibly responsive to new things.”

Future possible advertising restrictions on alcohol — producers say effective self-regulation will lessen the need for more rules — makes this failure a concern, Wade says.

“They’ve got the luxury of time, but need a clear brand strategy that says, ‘In 2-3 years’ time the ordinary channels will fall away, so do I know what the new ways are?’ I don’t think the alcohol guys are there yet.”

The alcohol guys agree, but only partly.

“It’s a fair criticism we’ve been perhaps slower to assimilate and take hold of the opportunities digital presents,” says Gavin Pike, marketing director of drinks company brandhouse .

However, it takes time to set mechanisms so that messages in forums such as MXit and Facebook, with a high proportion of under-18s, would only reach adult audiences, Pike says.

Others reject the criticism.

“The vast majority of our market has limited access to the web and is still very responsive to traditional media. The weight of our investment is thus still in traditional media,” says SAB marketing director Ian Penhale.

While internet connectivity may be low, it will not stay that way for long as surging cellphone ownership in Africa gives consumers internet access.

“Internet penetration levels are not necessarily where they are in the first world, but it would be naïve to use that as an obstacle to a one-to-one strategy,” Wade says. “Mobile is going to become the primary channel of delivery for brand communication.”

By Michael Bleby, Businessday

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