Marketing Up In Smoke

Remember when cigarettes were smoked on airplanes, in schools and at restaurants? Can you recall when doctors, actors and comedians used to endorse these products too? 

I heard the news today that CVS determined that they would give up $2 billion dollars in revenue and stop selling cigarettes in their store.  They didn't believe that it fit with their company’s mission of being a wellness provider and moving toward a blurring of hospital/pharmacy services.

This is brilliant marketing. It differentiates the #2 brand from all other players in the category by stopping doing something that everyone else in their segment can’t stop.  Walgreens, Rite Aid and even stores like Harris Teeter are addicted to the revenue stream and go into withdrawal thinking about this action.

How is this marketing?
  1. It creates a reason to care more about one brand over another.
  2. It is simple and easy for everyone to understand.
  3. It is a bold move that shows vision and foresight. 
  4. It helps define their brand by the absences of products known to kill.
  5. It aligns with their goals as a business. 
I don’t get lots of prescriptions but I plan to move my business to CVS. I often have the choice of 3 different locations within a mile of my home. I never had a strong preference or reason to shop at one over the other. These chains all blurred into one another. Now I have a reason to choose one over the other that connects at an emotional level. It is a story I will share too. 

I love it when competition is smoked by a smart marketing idea.


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