Vapestick questions e-cigarette ad review as it readies £12m campaign

Victory Electronic Cigarettes’ international president Michael Clapper has questioned some of the proposed new e-cigarette ad rules as its Vapestick brand preps a £12m campaign aimed at positioning it as a “lifestyle” product.

Vapestick’s new marketing campaign

Speaking to Marketing Week, Clapper says Vapestick decided not to go on TV in the upcoming campaign because the current rules make it very difficult to advertise the benefits of e-cigarettes. He hopes the consultation launched by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) will make it easier to advertise on TV and says he welcomes the chance to participate in the debate.

However, he did question if proposals to ban showing e-cigarettes alongside alcohol are “too restrictive”. Clapper claims there are clear advantages to e-cigarettes over normal cigarettes because they can be smoked inside in bars and pubs. By showing that in advertising, he believes more people might switch from tobacco to e-cigarettes.

“We will push back on that to get a little more flexibility.

“But the Advertising Standards Authority is taking a sensible approach. As an industry we need it to provide clear leadership. If we get it right we might be able to provide a template for the European Union,” he adds.

His comments come as Vapestick launches it first major ad campaign this Saturday (1 March) with radio, outdoor and digital ads, as well as experiential and in-store initiatives aimed at establishing the brand as a UK market leader. The campaign will focus on positioning Vapestick as an “aspirational lifestyle” brand aimed at making customers feel proud that they have made the shift from smoking to e-cigarettes.

The brand has appointed Heavenly to its creative account. It will be supported by Frank PR, who have been tasked with running a celebrity seeding programme, while Arena will handle media planning and buying.

Clapper says the decision to launch a marketing campaign followed Vapestick’s acquisition by Victory earlier this year, which was aimed at giving it the “ammunition” to raise awareness of the brand.

A number of rival brands, including SKYCIG and Vype, are going after a similar market, but Clapper says Vapestick will stand out by focusing on tie-ups with fashion and music brands. That includes plans to partner with leading fashion designers to work with them at events and develop fashion items designed with smoking e-cigarettes in mind, although he wouldn’t reveal what that might be.

“We don’t need to extol the benefits, that has already been done and people are aware of e-cigarettes. This is about taking the base we have and pushing it forward,” he says.

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