Bibliography Highlight:Brown-Johnson CG, England LJ, Glantz SA, Ling PM. Tobacco industry marketing to low socioeconomic status women in the USA. Tobacco Control 2014 January 21.
The authors investigate the numerous marketing strategies used by the tobacco companies to reach low SES females in the USA, including military wives, low-income inner-city minority women, ‘discount susceptible’ older female smokers and less-educated young white women. Strategies included distributing discount coupons with food stamps to reach the very poor, discount offers at point-of-sale and via direct mail to keep cigarette prices low, developing new brands for low SES females and promoting luxury images to low SES African-American women.
A few key documents from LTDL:
On partnering cigarette coupons with Food Stamps to reach a specific market:
"The coupon recipients will be mainly females, as welfare mothers are most likely to receive food stamps...Some objections may arise due to the moral/ethical problems of inducing poor people to buy cigarettes with the little money they do have. It may also be misconstrued by some to look as though we are urging the recipient to misredeem their food stamps for cigarettes."
(RJ Reynolds, 1976)
Segmentation of the adult female market for RJ Reynolds - Career women were described as ‘content or angry or searching/insecure’, the ‘job-holder’ was ‘resentful of having to work’, young mothers could be ‘angry/frustrated/constrained…overwhelmed/unfulfilled’ and older housewives felt ‘trapped’ and potentially ‘frustrated/angry. (RJ Reynolds, 1980)
"[Raleigh and Belair female smokers] have very low SESs…They undoubtedly feel they must make every penny count… smoking represents a financial drain on family resources. Saving coupons for household items helps reduce the guilt associated with smoking…Belair women (and perhaps Raleigh women as well) feel their lives are controlled by outside forces… The ritual of saving coupons helps bring control to one small aspect of their lives..." (B&W, 1983)
"Prestige, status, pride and luxury are extremely important to Blacks who, as a people, were historically denied those things…The physical and psychological deprivation that occurred during and after slavery gave rise to certain wants and needs which, even today, affect Black consumer behavior...The desire for instant gratification reflects the inclination of a deprived people to get as much satisfaction as they can as soon as they can. And it may explain, to some degree, the tendency of Blacks to smoke cigarettes at a greater rate than the rest of the population" (RJR, 1990)
Proposal to target the population of ‘unbanked’ smokers, who were predominantly female, urban, of below-average education, disproportionately Latino or African American, and likely to have incomes below $25,000/yr. The proposal included a prepaid debit card which would provide bill pay, direct deposit, savings with interest, money orders/transfers, access to government benefits checks and easy-access cash for very low-income consumers without access to traditional banking services. (PM, 2005)