Surrogate marketing is used to indirectly advertise banned products like cigarettes, tobacco or alcohol. Brands generally use complementary products as surrogates to promote their primary offering. However, recently the companies have been creative and have marketed the banned products through event sponsorships, creating digital content , organizing shows, etc. Read the story to know more about it.
Crux of the Matter
Surrogate literally means a substitute. Surrogate marketing is a form of disguised ad where one product is promoted indirectly
by substituting it with another product, brand or a person. It is adopted usually for marketing ‘demerit goods’ whose promotions are banned.
In mid-90s in Britain, housewives started protesting the broadcasted liquor advertisements. The protests rose to such an extent that liquor ads were banned in UK. As a way out, alcohol brands started promoting fruit juices and soda under the same brand name.
Surrogates Marketing: In Pictures
A Common Thread
Barring a few exceptions, surrogate products are usually related to the actual marketed product.
For alcohol: Water, soda, juice, snacks, lifestyle, success, etc are promoted.
For tobacco: ‘Pan masala’ as it complements the consumption of tobacco, lifestyle, success, etc are promoted.
- After the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship was banned in 2005. This led to companies removing cigarette brandings around the world.
- Kingfisher has recently begun funding web series on YouTube that are attracting the interest of the right demographic. They’ve backed web series like TVF Pitchers (the popular dialogue “Tu beer hai” and Kingfisher as a sponsor would have piqued people’s interest), what’s your status, and so on.
- Absolut Vodka uses Surrogate marketing for campaigns like most of the liquor brands do. It is more iconically known for the shape of the vodka bottle, so the marketing campaign works around how different things actually look like its bottle.