Raising generation ‘A’: a case study of millennial tobacco company marketing in Indonesia

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Abstract

Objective

To describe the Sampoerna A [A] brand marketing techniques and practices and how event-based sponsorship leverages company websites and popular social media channels to reach and engage young people.

Method

This case study was built from three main data sources. First, HM Sampoerna company reports, corporate websites and other online sources were reviewed. Second, four pairs of observers conducted an observation survey; systematically auditing and documenting tobacco promotion and advertising at the 2016 SoundrenAline concert. Finally, social media data were obtained from an iterative search of hashtags of Instagram posts. The 10 most frequently used hashtags related to the concert were reviewed and documented.

Results

A brand marketing includes sponsorship of a music concert series, a limited edition A Mild cigarette package and promotion of virtual events on company websites and social media channels. Instagram boosted promotion with more than 25 000 posts for the two most popular hashtags endorsed during the concerts. Marketing activities targeted young people by focusing on creativity, freedom of expression and audience engagement. The corporate website ‘goaheadpeople.id’ served as both a promotional medium and online community.

Conclusion

Internet and social media channels are key to Sampoerna’s marketing strategy in Indonesia. Internet-based marketing run alongside conventional advertising likely increases Indonesian youth exposure to cigarette marketing. This case study also provides evidence that Sampoerna evaded current tobacco advertising regulations. Subnational governments can play a stronger role in restricting tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship by more effectively enforcing current regulation.

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