Online Program

Why and how of tobacco industry database marketing

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

M. Jane Lewis, DrPH, MA, School of Public Health, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ
Background: Tobacco industry database marketing provides the industry with the names and information for sending pro-tobacco messages, images, and incentives thorough mail/e-mail to consumers while passing under the radar screen of public health and tobacco control. This presentation reports on research utilizing previously secret industry documents to describe the tobacco industry's development of database marketing, its size and upkeep, and its utility in promoting tobacco brands, brand loyalty and in generating names for continued tobacco marketing. Methods: Identification and analysis of tobacco industry documents relating to direct and database marketing by Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds in the Legacy Tobacco Documents Archive. Results: Database marketing began to meet the industry's need for new ways to market products as smoking prevalence dropped and cigarette choices increased and continued as a means of promoting products in the face of advertising restrictions. It allowed messages to be targeted to specific high potential segments and was believed to allow “aggressive promotion opportunities without fear of PR/legislative/retailer whiplash.” Names were purchased and generated through responses to brand programs and efforts launched to increase young adult names and collect lifestyle information for use in program development. Databases grew from their beginning in the late 1970s and by 2005 Philip Morris alone had 26 million usable names on its database. Conclusions: Although information about tobacco industry databases is limited, research suggests they provide a key resource for the industry to maintain tobacco customers and relationships.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Discuss database marketing’s role in promoting tobacco products and its utility to the tobacco industry

Keyword(s): Tobacco Industry, Marketing Databases

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: M. Jane Lewis, DrPH, is an Associate Professor at the UMDNJ School of Public Health and conducts surveillance of tobacco industry marketing. She has previously delivered presentations and published papers related to tobacco marketing and conducts research on direct marketing by the tobacco industry.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.