Citation Moodie C, Angus K & Ford A (2014) The importance of cigarette packaging in a 'dark' market: the 'Silk Cut' experience. Tobacco Control, 23 (3), pp. 274-278. https://doi.org/10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2012-050681
Abstract In a growing number of countries tobacco companies are severely restricted in how they can legally market their products. In these 'dark' markets the role of packaging as a promotional and communications tool becomes more pronounced. How packaging is used for the most expensive cigarette brands in dark markets has received limited attention however, even though these 'premium' cigarette brands significantly impact upon the profitability of tobacco companies. We outline, using retail trade press journals, how packaging was used for premium brand 'Silk Cut' in the UK from 2004 to 2011, following a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotions and sponsorship. From 2004 to 2008 packaging was used to help launch two new variants and during this period Silk Cut market share of the premium sector grew by 1.1%. Overall share of the cigarette market for the Silk Cut house (brand family) fell however due to the continuing decline of the premium sector. From 2008 to 2011 changes to the packaging were much more frequent, including the repeated use of limited-edition designs, and modifications to pack shape, texture, style of opening, cellophane, foil and inner frame. Silk Cut's share of the premium sector grew a further 2.9% from 2008 to 2011, and overall cigarette market share increased. That a premium brand can report any level of growth within such a hostile market, where most advertising, promotion and sponsorship is banned, taxation is among the highest in the world, and in the midst of a recession, is testament to the value of packaging.