Let's Address Product Labeling
Hear Ye! Hear Ye! This article is about to speak, maybe to the masses or, perhaps to the minority in our industry. What I want to address here for a moment is the “intent” behind some of the product labeling that is out there.
In recent weeks we have been inundated with article after article, argument after argument about how the vaping industry is targeting children via the creative labeling that appears on many products. Now there are valid points on both sides of the proverbial isle. On the one hand some argue that you have the Michelin Man, the Geico Gecko, MetLife with Snoopy, the Aflac Duck, Starkist Tuna and Charlie the list goes on and on. Of course each of these boring products holds absolutely zero interest to children and targets the adult consumer, however, for every Charlie there’s a Tony the Tiger argument to be made. So which is it? Do you think that the cartoonish, vibrant colored e-juice labels that are out there today are designed to attract the attention of a teenager’s eye, stir their curiosity and entice them to maybe try it just once in the hope that they will become an ongoing customer? Are we that cynical?
Before we answer that, let’s voice the other side of that argument. Why then? With all of the health benefits, all of the positives and all of the evidence that is proving the pundits wrong, why then do we do ourselves and our industry a disservice by creating our own controversy? Why do we shoot ourselves in the foot and offer up a sacrificial distraction from all of the positive things that vaping brings to the table? Trust me, there are other ways to effectively create brand awareness and separate yourself from the competition.
Now, if your company is intentionally using labels that are designed to attract the teenage demographic, then my friend you should be ashamed of yourself, and I for one encourage you to consider going into the cereal business and creating Puff Puffs.
If anyone with even a somewhat reasonable head on their shoulders takes five minutes to peek at the vaping community profiles on Instagram, I think they would discover that we are quite a seasoned bunch. We don’t wear a lot of pink and we won’t continue to buy a product or juice just because the label is cute. If you’re like me and probably 90% of the adult population on this planet, you drink coffee. You may like it black, cream with two sugars or, go to Starbucks and order a triple eight-pump upside down extra caramel - caramel macchiato with light foam. Either way, we Americans drop $1,100 on average per year on coffee - and guess what? I have yet to see a cup of coffee with a cute label. We know what the product is, we buy it every day and we consume it because we like it – it’s that simple.
I think it’s time that we all wake up and smell the coffee and realize that we have in our possession a landmark movement in the history of public health, and the last thing we need is to give the naysayers out there something else that they can sink their teeth into. As I was saying to a friend of mine the other day, I swear I feel like vaping is a candidate running for office! The media is trying to find all of the skeletons in our closet, reporting on things that are not true just to come up with damaging headlines designed to drive traffic to their platform, and critique every word that comes out of our mouth so they can use it against us. Think about it, a month ago Donald Trump referred to 9/11 as 7-11 and the media went nuts. Now I’m not saying that I’m a Trump supporter, I’ll keep that to myself, but he could have said that he found the cure for cancer and no one would have known because the media was too busy on the one small slip-up and missed the bigger picture. That is our industry in a nutshell.
If you feel that you are on the wrong side of this equation and that your intentions could be questionable, then on behalf of all of us – please consider making a change to the way you approach business. I promise you, if your product is good, you’ll have nothing to worry about.
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