Smokers’ Haven: How Tobacco Advertising Touch Indonesians’ Prestige
Indonesia, with its 200+ millions population, now has the third largest smokers after China and India. Despite half a million people die every year due to smoking-related diseases, tobacco is still one the biggest comodity here. As one of my pharmacist friend once said, cigarette is a zero-benefit product; it does not give any profit to the consumer whatsoever.
Other than the loose regulations of tobacco selling, advertising is one the keys why tobacco industry is still a big deal in Indonesia. Tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship is generally allowed in Indonesia, with restrictions. Advertising on TV is restricted to between 21:30 and 05:00. Advertisements may not show cigarettes, cigarette packs, or the use of cigarettes or tobacco. Even with these limitations, tobacco advertisers have been extremely successful in marketing their product.
Two crucial points of their strategy: bombard and blend.
Put as many advertisement as possible. Bandung is one of the cities where enormous amount of cigarettes’ printed advertisements is found. In the 3-km highway near Gedung Sate alone, we can see more than 200 banners. Conventional advertising of cigarettes is so prolific, so abundant that it has become one with the Indonesian landscape. Halfway in Jakarta-Bandung route, we can see a huge, neon landmark showing one of Indonesia’s biggest cigarette brand.