Collection: Freedom Events
Freedom is possibly America's most treasured value. Protected in the "Bill of Rights" it is a deeply held core belief. Given its hold on the American psyche, it has been used as a powerful marketing tool to hawk products as diverse as airplane tickets for Southwest Airlines, which calls itself "A Symbol of Freedom," to getting a good night's sleep with Dacron pillows, which is "America's Freedom Fabric," to the freedom to discover the road ahead with Chevrolet's "Find New Roads," and the freedom to "Just Do it" with Nike products.
To generate awareness of their product and entice new customers, electronic cigarette companies, (e-cig) host promotional events and parties in which the products are freely distributed. Underground music festivals are also sponsored by many of these companies to target teens.
Blu, a leading e-cig manufacturer, is prolific in its promotion of freedom and free lifestyle through sponsored events. By branding these sponsored events as a series of “Freedom Projects”, or an opportunity to “Take Back” one’s freedom, the brand is explicitly associating the concept of freedom (especially freedom of place) with their product. At these events, the company offers patrons the opportunity to write about their “freest moment” on branded “Freedom Walls”, large blackboard walls. This tactic only serves to further emphasize the association of freedom with Blu e-cigs.
According to a report1, the six leading e-cig manufacturers in 2013 distributed free samples at least 348 events. By offering e-cigs at concerts and bars, these companies seek to associate e-cigs with a partying lifestyle, much like tobacco did by prominently featuring alcohol in cigarette ads. This advertising technique glamorizes the vaping lifestyle and is an immediate attraction to teens, the mainstay of e-cig companies.
1. Gateway to Addiction? A Survey of Popular Electronic Cigarette Manufacturers and Marketing to Youth. Available at http://www.durbin.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/pressreleases?ID=06acef25-48b0-4d9a-857a-74f7b4fcd4d5