Select Committee on Health Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 740 - 759)



Dr Brand

740  It is not a statutory body, it is a trade funded organisation.

  (Mr Bainsfair) That is right.

Audrey Wise

741  The question is how you engage aspirations in the first place and stay within the CAP because I thought that adverts had not to be aspirational. How do you distinguish between the aspirations of the bottom end of your adult smokers and the young teenager? There must be something you do, some sorts of things you do or refrain from doing in order to keep within the CAP. I am just asking you to explain.

  (Mr Bainsfair) We are in a loop here because I keep giving you the same answer.

742  I know.

  (Mr Bainsfair) We use our own judgement and we then go through the procedure of checking it against the code.

743  What guides your judgement? Can you give any examples of things you would not put in in case they attracted the 14 to 15-year-olds, what you think is different at 18? I am keeping you at 18 because 18 to 24 includes 18s. I do not understand. You have rock, cult, bikes, cars as sorts of things. Fourteen and 15-year-old males seem to me to be just as interested as 18-year-olds. How do your adverts differ?

  (Mr Bainsfair) Perhaps if I say that it is common sense that there is going to be an overlap. Some 15-year-olds are going to be more sophisticated than others. It is impossible to say that something which appeals to an 18-year-old will not appeal to a 15-year-old. If that is what you are getting at, obviously you are right.

744  Yes.

  (Mr Bainsfair) However, it is important to take into context the motivations behind what makes a 15-year-old tick and what makes an 18-year-old or a 24-year-old tick when it comes to whether they are going to smoke a particular brand of cigarette, because—you will remember being 15 yourself—there are lots of pressures on you, mostly to do with what your friends are doing, which are going to come a long way in front of anything you might see on an advertising hoarding. I am pretty confident, in answer to your question, that what we do does not influence very young people. If it does, I have seen no evidence to suggest that it does. It would be by a very small degree.

745  But you cannot tell us the sort of things which would enable you to distinguish. In the documents from M&C Saatchi is one which makes it clear. It is headed "15-34 Age Group". It says, "The 15 to 24 age group who smoke Silk Cut are slightly more Inner Directed than other smokers". So clearly there is market research amongst 15-year-olds.

  (Mr MacLennan) Yes, there is market research amongst that age group 15 to 24.


746  Why:

  (Mr MacLennan) Because it is conducted by a body called TGI. They carry out a national survey covering everything.

747  Into tobacco consumption?

  (Mr MacLennan) No, no, nothing to do with the tobacco industry at all whatsoever.

748  Does the survey they undertake include information gathered—

  (Mr MacLennan) They ask about lifestyle in essence, what papers they read, what they drink, what they wear, how they vote and so on and so forth. That is the main source for our industry, if there is a group of people which you want to target to find out what they do, what they think, how they behave. That is what you look at. There is no way of using that data without including 15-year-olds. That is just data. We could have changed 15 to 16 on documents; obviously we did not.

  Chairman: You just ignored it.

Audrey Wise

749  I happen to have done market research, foot slogging. It is perfectly possible to say to your interviewer, if the person is 15 do not ask questions 18, 19 and 20.

  (Mr MacLennan) You would have to ask TGI about that, it is nothing to do with the tobacco industry at all. It is a completely separate body.

750  "In order to maintain market share and ensure a future for the brand Silk Cut must capture these peoples values", that is the 15-24 age group. So it starts at the illegal bit with 15. "Escapism Risk Complexity" is what you are after. That gives extra point to the questions I was asking about how you distinguish between attracting 18-year-olds and not attracting 14 and 15-year-olds. You are actually trying to attract them, are you not?

  (Mr MacLennan) No. We do not commission TGI to do their research. It is nothing to do with the tobacco business. We do not brief them, they choose to ask the questions. It is a general survey which covers all products and it has nothing to do with the tobacco industry. I thought I had made that quite clear. On the specific point, you are quoting slightly out of context because on the brief we write when we choose to communicate, because these are all interesting words but what I would have thought was of more importance to yourself is what actually happens at the end of the day. If you look at our brief in that particular instance, I think you will find it talks about 18-24. That is nothing to do with the brief. That is a research report you are looking at. It is nothing to do with what we ask people to do.

751  It is not research by the body you were talking about.

  (Mr MacLennan) It is a different research group; quite right.

752  Synergy. May I ask something related about targets? This is again M&C Saatchi and Gallaher. It is "Woman's Cigarette". It says, "Gallaher, through Silk Cut and Berkeley, has a strong female franchise". Then it says, "Opportunity possibly exists for overtly female targeted cigarette, (perhaps tapping into female cigar smoking trend?). Difficult to market, but a niche not yet filled". Do you still think that that kind of approach is not about getting more women to smoke?

  (Mr MacLennan) I do not really have a view on that; it is someone else's view. It is a research company and it is their view that you could market a female cigar. I am not sure you ever could as it happens, but it is nothing to do with our company.

753  It says M&C Saatchi on the bottom of the sheet.

  (Mr MacLennan) I thought it said Synergy.

754  Not this one; not what I am reading from now. It is headed "Woman's Cigarette". It is the twin to the "Male, Laddish, Blokey" page you were challenged on before. Why would you want to encourage women to smoke cigars for a manufacturer who already has a strong female franchise? They have got the women already. Do they want them to change from Silk Cut to this cigar or do they want extra ones?

  (Mr MacLennan) I do not think this was a recommendation. The first point is that it is factual, is it not? As it happens low tar cigarettes appeal to women more than men. I am sure you have that data, so that is true. Silk Cut is a Gallaher brand, so therefore they have a strong female franchise. I have no idea whether a cigar aimed at women would work or not in terms of females finding it attractive.

755  I am not asking whether it would work.

  (Mr MacLennan) I do not know. It will never happen.

756  I am asking whether it would be desirable.

  (Mr MacLennan) It would not be undesirable, no.

757  You do not think it would be undesirable.

  (Mr MacLennan) Personally?

758  Yes.

  (Mr MacLennan) If women smoked cigars? If a woman wanted to smoke a cigar she is welcome to smoke a cigar.

759  You are not worried about the fact that quite a lot of young women smoke, even though it helps to produce low birth weight babies, etcetera. It does not bother you.

  (Mr MacLennan) I think you have switched the question there somewhat. I did not say that. You were asking whether I thought it would be a problem if women smoked cigars and I said no. Do I think young girls smoking is a problem? Yes, I do think that is a bad thing; certainly.

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