Why Packaging Is Commercially Vital for Tobacco Corporations: What British American Tobacco Companies in Asia Tell Their Shareholders Academic Article uri icon


  • This study analyses what British American Tobacco (BAT) and its 4 publicly listed Asian subsidiary companies have told their shareholders about the commercial value of tobacco packaging. The discourse on packaging in BAT annual reports was analyzed, revealing themes of modernization, rejuvenation, internationalism, heritage, innovation, value for money, and competitive edge. Packaging was credited with providing existing brands with a competitive edge and enabling the successful "launch" of new ones. Since advertising, sponsorship, and free samples were prohibited in many countries, packaging has become more important for advertising. New brands and brand variants have proliferated. BAT companies have allocated considerable resources to regularly altering packaging for marketing purposes. Clearly, restrictions on packaging will substantially detract from the promotion of the company's brands. The findings provide further evidence from industry sources of the vital function of packaging and further justify plain packaging as an essential part of any comprehensive tobacco control policy.

publication date

  • 2017