For creative agencies, e-cigarettes are quickly becoming the next great advertising frontier. The e-cigarette industry has been able to accomplish a lot as a brand builder. With the help of great creative agencies, they have created some iconic brands across the globe in a short time.
We can all remember the early days of e-cigs. A friend or colleague would take out this weird device with a little light on the end. He would take a puff and produce a cloud of vapor. You may have thought he looked pretty foolish doing it, or perhaps, you were a little uncomfortable about whether it was okay for him to be releasing his vapors like that indoors.
Through advertising, the big and best e-cig brands have both battled for market share, while at the same time reducing the stigma associated with using this new product. E-cigarettes have since become fairly commonplace. Below are some of the advertising campaigns that have brought them to mainstream acceptance.
Among e-cigarette brands, Blu has distinguished itself as the most sophisticated brand. They have achieved this effect by using an attractive young actor Stephen Dorff in their advertisements. For over twenty years, Dorff was a smoker of traditional cigarettes prior to his gig with Blu. Dorff talk about how he is just as cool using his Blu in one television spot that evokes James Dean. The commercial is shot in black and white and is set on a beach.
Blu’s campaign has the tagline “Rise from the Ashes”, which is essentially what the e-cig industry is hoping to achieve: providing an alternative to the ash producing traditional cigarettes. In another Dorff commercial, he does a “behind the scenes” style infomercial for Blu that is six minutes long and features Dorff using Blu in his everyday life.
Attempting to ride on the coattails of the Stephen Dorff success, another e-cig brand, White Cloud Electronic Cigarettes, introduced a new spokesman who was known as Stephen Dwarf. This commercial served as a satire of the “Rise from the Ashes” campaign. But, it was much less successful. I guess as based on a pun are not the best for selling products.
NJOY’s “Return the Favor” commercial features the song “Hey Brother” by Avicii. They goal NJOY tries to achieve is for friends to encourage each other to smoke e-cigarettes by vaguely suggesting they are a better alternative to traditional cigarettes. Through thick and thin, friends stick together. They have each other’s backs. They pull off crazy stunts in response to dares, and they do not let each other smoke cigarettes.
With “Hey Brother” playing in the background and producing a perfect “bros stick together” ambience, the commercial opens with one of the friends stealing the head from a football mascot and running away with it on. They then work together to move a massive couch up many flights of stairs. One of the buddies accidentally runs into a guy in the pub and spills his point all over them. The other buddy pulls the brute’s knit hat over his eyes, so his friend can escape.
After a couple other similar scenes demonstrating a life-long friendship, one friend hands the other some NJOY e-cigs. This evocative commercial suggests the friend wants his buddy to be around for decades to come to produce more memories.
Super Bowl commercials have become watered down in recent years. It is almost as if companies spend all of their budget on the advertising space and the celebrities who will appear in the commercial and not enough on the script. This is definitely not the case with Vapor Zone’s commercial for the 2014 Super Bowl.
The commercial opens up with a man standing at what appears to be a urinal. The screen reads “3 is a good number” apparently referring to the number of shakes it takes to get it all out. The fella then proceeds to shake a lot more with the screen reading “but 30,000 is even better.” He then turns around, and we see that he was actually holding an e-cigarette flavor cartridge. And, the camera pans out to show that he was actually just looking at a picture of urinals. The commercial is promoting the more than 30,000 flavor commercials available from Vapor Zone.
Jenny McCarthy is another Blu spokesperson who is trying to set Blu e-cigs apart as the classy alternative that the celebrities use. In her “Freedom” ad, McCarthy is in an upscale bar talking about how much enjoys the freedom that e-cigs give her. As a single woman, she does not like kissing guys who taste like an ashtray. E-cigs do not do this, she says she and the guy next to her with whom she is flirting take puffs off their Blu e-cigs.
The commercial’s imagery is nothing fancy. Blu is apparently trying to capitalize on McCarthy’s sex appeal. The message is the important part of the ad. There are a variety of strong arguments given by McCarthy for why just about everyone should make the switch to e-cigarettes. Among the benefits she lists:
These advertisements and many others have helped to shape the e-cigarette industry and legitimize the use of this newer product. We can also rest assured that we will see many more quality e-cigarette ads in the near future as the more creative ad agency get involved. Plus, in their battle to take market share away from traditional cigarettes, television commercials are one arena where they have a huge advantage, since Big Tobacco is not allowed to advertise on television or to have their products strategically placed. In other words, the e-cigarette revolution will be televised.