Collection: Road Shows
The electronic cigarette (eCig) industry has taken a multipronged approach to build consumers, including aggressive advertising, celebrity endorsements, and sampling through road shows. It is well documented that sampling is one of the most powerful devices used by manufacturers to get their product into the hands of hundreds of potential consumers in a place where there are most likely to try it.
Electronic cigarette brands including NJOY, South Beach Smoke, BeautiCig, Fin, and VitaCig have all used road shows in the past year to promote their product. According to a Senate Report that examined eCig marketing of the 6 leading brands, in 2012-2013, the brands provided free samples at 348 events. Apart from offering free samples at these road shows, the brands also provide information on their product and offer additional freebies and incentives.
While eCig companies claim that they do not target youth, from posts on social media sites, it is patently obvious that they are using sampling as a device to hook teenagers. Sexily dressed women and men are recruited by these brands to offer free samples at crowded places frequented by youth including beaches and parks. Some of the trucks are also designed to appeal to kids and youth. For instance, VitaCig’s “vape truck,” looks very similar to an ice cream truck. It is a relief that the Food and Drug Administration, which set out to regulate the eCig industry for the first time with its proposed regulations in April 2014. While eCig companies may no longer use road shows to offer samples of their products, it is not hard to imagine that they will continue to use it to attract youth.