I hear today that in the government’s crusade against smoking their latest potent weapon is a suggestion to ban logos on cigarette packs! Apart from being a crazy and impractical suggestion it once again demonstrates how governments and public bodies just misunderstand how brands work. What on earth do they expect that will achieve?
They have not suggested totally removing branding; by that I mean removing all maker information, which would fly in the face of packaging rules and make manufacturers untraceable. So, brands will still exist – with or without logos. Logos are just symbols, icons for brand values, brands can exist perfectly well without them.
But just let us imagine how things would be without cigarette manufacturers’ brands – what would happen? Brand focus would simple switch to retailers. Think of meat or vegetables – these are generally unbranded, but consumers choose a particular butcher or greengrocer because they trust their products. The same would be true of cigarettes – people would simply make preferences between Tesco, Co-op or Waitrose’s ‘unbranded’ cigarettes.