We Interrupt this Package…

Today the FDA proposed a series of required warnings for cigarette packages and advertisements. Initially, 24 concepts were proposed of which 9 will ultimately be adopted. The basic formatting devotes half of the package or advertisement to a public service announcement alerting the user that, in no uncertain terms, smoking is really, really bad for them. The FDA's goal is to create disfluency by disrupting the traditional branding created by the tobacco companies and replace it with the public service announcement.

By subjugating the brand to the warning message, the FDA seeks to create a powerful and, more importantly, a memorable message that smokers will grasp. I applaud their approach but believe that if adopted, it will work for only a short time. Eventually, consumers will become accustomed to the messages and they will simply be ignored much in the same way the current warning messages are disregarded. The FDA will need to be vigilant and change their approach periodically so that the messages continue to be disruptive, disfluent.

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