By Alan Keane, Account Executive

We don’t love you Philip Morris but, weak Jim Carrey reference aside, you can’t help but be impressed at the tobacco manufacturer’s cunning stunt to get around the new packaging regulations that come into force in the UK tomorrow.

Saturday the 20th May marks the end of the 12 month grace period afforded to cigarette manufacturers to phase out old branded cartons, which have been replaced by generic plain packets incorporating pictures and warnings designed to deter smokers.

Whilst Ireland is following suit, with 30th September 2018 the cut-off point for branded packaging, from tomorrow UK retailers will no longer be allowed to stock packets of 10 cigarettes, or the smaller size packages of rolling tobacco.

So how has Philip Morris attempted to get around the packaging regulations which will lead to their highly-recognisable Marlboro brand being diluted? Tins.

It’s such a simple solution, but shows impressive forward thinking. All manufacturing of branded materials had to cease 12 months ago, meaning that the tins that have been distributed to UK retailers were (according to Philip Morris) created before the 20th May 2016 deadline.

The 10 cigarette tins are being sold in major retailers such as Sainsbury’s and Londis, and cost the same as a normal 10 packet of Marlboro cigarettes.

Philip Morris is banking on anyone who has bought one of these tins using them to store their cigarettes for the foreseeable future, ensuring the iconic Marlboro branding stays visible long after their competitors fade into the beige of standardised packaging.

It goes without saying that we don’t condone smoking, however purely as a means of promoting a product Philip Morris has played a blinder here.

It’s almost as if the tobacco industry has unlimited amounts of money to throw around…

I’ll finish as I started, with a Jim Carrey reference. Philip Morris hopes that these tins ensure that Marlboro continues to be the brand that people are…

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