As the Internet becomes the primary source of information and entertainment to most adolescents, electronic cigarette (e-cig) companies are cleverly exploiting their online presence to appeal to teen consumers. Aside from their websites, the majority of e-cig companies are also heavily invested in social media sites that allow them to interact with potential consumers, create brand evangelists, and shape consumers views of their brands.
White Cloud Cigarettes, a leading brand, leads the way in consumer engagement for brand promotion as well as consumer engagement. One of the unique ways in which White Cloud Cigarettes promotes its product is through a free online game, that is highly engaging and interactive.
The game, which is heavily promoted in the brands ads as well as social media posts, is called “Fling A Friend.” It comprises of two characters- a large strongman and a smaller diminutive person. A person gains points that can be used towards a free e-cig, discounts, or merchandise by having the strongman “fling” the smaller person as far as possible. The animation is very cartoon-like, imitating a Saturday morning television show.
While White Cloud contends that its game is aimed at adults, specifically office workers seeking a “mental break”, one has to note that video games almost defines today’s teenager. A study by Pew Research and Internet Project noted that 97 percent of American teenagers play video games, and of those, 73 percent of them play video games on their computers and online. (1) With so many teenagers playing video games, it becomes apparent that White Cloud’s advertisement heavily targets young people.
1. Pew Research and Internet Project. Teens Video Games and civics. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2008/09/16/teens-video-games-and-civics/ on August 29,2014.