Govt considering tobacco industry request on pictorial warning

New Delhi: The government late Thursday said it is “actively considering” a request from the tobacco industry to increase the duration of display of a particular pictorial warning in cigarette packets, reports PTI.

There are two existing pictorial warnings like scorpion and damaged lungs while a new and stricter one—a cancer-stricken mouth—was to be depicted from 1st December. Such warnings are to be rotated every year.

Tobacco companies, which were under an impression that the timeline for ‘mouth cancer’ warning would get pushed back, had made representations to the health ministry seeking clarity on the matter.

They have insisted that the existing cigarette stocks lying with the retailers should be allowed to be sold first and if the new warning must come into effect then its duration should be increased to two or three years so that companies do not need to print new packets every year.

“While the health ministry advocates lessening use of tobacco, the request of the tobacco industry is being actively considered,” sources at the ministry said.

The state exchequer earns Rs27,000 crore revenue every year from sale of cigarettes and bidis.

Tobacco majors ITC and Godfrey Phillips India (GPI) have stopped production of cigarettes citing lack of clarity on the issue. An ITC spokesperson today said, “units (for making cigarettes) are shut because of the ambiguity in pictorial warnings to be carried from 1st December onwards.”

Similarly, production has been stalled since 1st December onwards at GPI’s two units in India. The development may cost the state exchequer Rs100 crore per day.

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Spice Mobile: Connection fails!

The long battery life promise has already been taken away. And the creatives are weak, very forced, leaving one a little perplexed about the promise 

Spice Mobile has decided to jump onto the ‘long battery life’ platform. There’s such a huge, huge clutter in the mobile space, confused marketers have to keep searching under their hats for some promising new rabbit they can latch on to. Else, there’s really nothing left to say to the consumers. And even on the battery life promise, they are a tad late. Zen Mobile just took that away.

So, I guess in order to get some amount of noticeability, they have signed up Bollywood struggler Sonam Kapoor as brand ambassador. Before I get to the creative itself, a related point: I have always wondered why these small actors get such fat endorsement deals even before they’ve done something noteworthy in their careers. Is it the idealess marketers’ failing, or are the Bollywood obsessed consumers at fault? Beats me, really.

Anyway, there are two commercials currently on air. In one, Kapoor is seen enjoying a movie on her cell phone. One twit, who happens to be passing by, excitedly blurts out the ‘suspense’ to her. The voice over says: “Pesh hai Spice phone big battery ke saath. Ab picture dekhiye bina rukaawat ke. Well, almost.” Er, not really sure how the long battery life is established since she’s still watching the film. Maybe I missed something out here. In the other film, the actress is onceagain seen watching a horror film—this time on a train. And gets startled when her phone rings. And, as you can imagine, it turns out to be the usual suspect: the telemarketer.

Extremely weak communication. There are two big problems with the creative work, aside from of course, the fact that the battery life plank has already been taken. And both have to do with the link.

Unlike Zen Mobile, whose creatives clearly established long battery life with the situations depicted, in this case the link is tenuous. And very forced. So one is left a little perplexed on the promise.

Secondly, because the idea lacks a punch, and the platform is old, the branding becomes very weak. So there’s no clear link established on what is being said and the brand in question, Spice Mobile. Viewers will totally fail to recall the brand, and no, young Sonam Kapoor isn’t going to be able to save the day.

In short, the key communication connections have failed. Hopefully that’s not the case with the phone itself.

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