New cigarette warnings is a very nice way of saying what this is. In my opinion, you are looking at government-mandated packaging design. I don’t know if there is any other industry that has it’s marketing regulated as much as cigarettes. (Porn?) The decline of tobacco advertising and marketing is well documented. Last month the FDA unveiled new warning labels.
Beginning September 2012, FDA will require larger, more prominent cigarette health warnings on all cigarette packaging and advertisements in the United States. These warnings mark the first change in cigarette warnings in more than 25 years and are a significant advancement in communicating the dangers of smoking.
There are nine approved graphic warning labels that will be applied to all packs of cigarettes. I don’t know if I agree with the new mandate though. By 2013, every pack of cigarettes will have 50 percent of their packaged covered by a graphic depicting the negative impact of smoking! FIFTY-PERCENT! What’s the point of even designing packaging for cigarettes anymore. Earlier this month, Australia proposed a plain packaging law for cigarettes. That means no logos, no colors, no branding – just the product name and a large health warning.
Will it be effective? I absolutely think so. It’s a testament to the effectiveness of branding and design (I’m sure nicotine helps too.)
Here are some before and after of how cigarettes will look, presented by the FDA.