Worst. Blackmail. Ever.

I don’t see how the “Killer Price Cut” blackmail by British American Tobacco should scare the government at all. Here’s what they’re threatening, on the front page of yesterday’s News Ltd tabloids:

THE tobacco industry is threatening to flood Australia with half-price cigarettes to fight plain packaging laws.

It is also threatening to seek billions of dollars in compensation from the Federal Government…

BAT Australia chief David Crow said cigarette companies would be forced to drastically cut prices because no-name “chop-chop” tobacco and cigarettes – which cost as little as 30 per cent of the cost of a regular packet – would be more attractive.

He said the cheap prices “basically means more people will smoke, more kids will smoke”.

You give us what we want or we’ll kill more of your kids?

Here’s a response: add a levy to the cigarettes that cancels out the price reduction.

I suspect today’s threat won’t help BAT when it seeks public support to fight that.

3 responses to “Worst. Blackmail. Ever.

  1. uniquerhys

    Go on – reduce your prices and your profits. Deliberately put yourself out of business! We dare ya!

    I’m sure the graphic art department at BAT will find a clever way to skirt the letter of the law if they apply themselves (just like the supermarkets that seem unable to find normal-sized fonts for per-100g pricing but have no problem finding such a font to tell you about a SALE!). Minimalistic and plain artwork can have its own kind of beauty if done well.

  2. phyllis5tein

    Remember glo-mesh ciggie covers? Perhaps the cigarette box cover will be a give away at “Youf” events. It could be be stickers to “personalize” your purchase. Cardboard or neoprene covers would work, silicone or a reworked cigarette case with a house key/condom holder. Don’t fight it BAT, this is an opportunity!

  3. David Crowe (now BAT CEO): “I mean, I can tell you categorically … [total sales] volume isn’t going to go up. OK, in this market we’ve got a government that’s very smart, they’re world class, they know exactly how to manage the tobacco industry and they’re doing it very well. Guys, the days of managing volume with the current business model is probably not relevant anymore. We’ve got to manage the market, we’re got to manage this percentage of trading profit.”

    Romano Espinoza: “Another example is our guys in marketing and trade marketing, they need to sell five packs of Holidays to get the same profit they would get from one pack of Dunhill.”

    Crowe: “I mean, five packs of Holidays for every pack of Dunhill, I mean it’s just a clear statement of fact of what our intentions are. If we don’t sell Dunhills and Bensons and Winfield, the amount of sheer volume we have to do of Holiday to make up for that is just ridiculous. I mean, the factory couldn’t produce it.”

    -2002 BAT Internal Training DVD

    Erm… whoops

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