Promoting cigarette brands in TV shows yields unexpected results

By our News Team | 2022

TV product placement for cigarettes increases sales by 2% for the tobacco brand shown – as well as for rival brands, researchers find.

New research in the journal Marketing Science, conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago and University of Washington in the US, finds a 10% increase in TV product placement for cigarettes increases sales by 2% for the tobacco brand shown on-screen. Furthermore, it has the same effect on its direct competitors’ sales as well.

The study, entitled ‘Show and Sell: Studying the Effects of Branded Cigarette Product Placement in TV Shows on Cigarette Sales’, notes that, for the most part, these cigarette brands cannot engage in mass advertising such as TV ads, billboards or sports sponsorships.

Product Placement

Photo by Pixabay via Pexels

However, they still do benefit from TV product placement, which allows them to be seen by millions of American TV viewers.

“When people see product placement for a particular brand like Marlboro, retail sales of Marlboro products go up. However, what’s more surprising is that sales of other competitor cigarette brands also go up,” says Pradeep Chintagunta of the University of Chicago. 

Product placement encourages smoking in general

“This indicates that product placement isn’t just about getting people to shift the brands of cigarettes they use – but to get people to smoke more overall.”

The researchers combined NielsenIQ PlaceViews data on product placement with NielsenIQ Ad Intel data, then measured the exposure of consumers in different markets to tobacco product placement. This information was then merged with store sales data from Information Resources Inc. to measure the impact of product placement on cigarette sales.

“We find that this kind of product placement does increase the amount of cigarette sales. If regulators are interested in finding additional ways to reduce smoking rates, curtailing product placement for cigarette brands might be a fruitful option,” says Ali Goli, an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington.

Based on these results, the study urges lawmakers to restructure regulations around cigarette promotions and product placements.

Find out more about the research paper here.

Dr Kin Kariisa

Group CEO - Next Media

Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

  • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
  • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
  • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
  • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
  • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
  • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.