Indonesian Cigarette Advertising Uses Sex Drive To Sell Success
A phallus like gearstick sheathed in the black leather of an expensive car, aching to be slid into drive, commands its reader to “Think black, think power”.
It is an advertisement for Djarum Black cigarettes, replicated on banner after banner along a main street in Palembang Indonesia.
The image of smoking is an association between sex, power, speed, thrills, and wealth.
The branding imagines Djarum Black smokers as older, successful, masculine, alpha males.
In reality the fantasy is grim.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that Indonesia has such a high prevalence of tobacco use that for non-communicable diseases it is the second most important cause of morbidity and mortality.
“Chronic conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic disorders, and tobacco dependence represent a real burden to the country in terms of cost, suffering and human lives,” the WHO stated in a recent Indonesian health profile.
Indonesia is the only country in the Asia Pacific Region that has not signed or ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which leaves it vulnerable to rampant cigarette marketing and advertising.
“Not only is smoking ubiquitous among males in Indonesia, but initiation begins early with over a quarter of urban and rural 10-year-old boys already smoking. It is estimated that tobacco-related mortality accounts for 10 percent of total deaths in Indonesia,” a 2008 research paper by Tobacco Control stated.
“Indonesia can best be described as an ‘advertiser’s paradise’, as it is a largely unrestricted regulatory environment. Cigarette marketing in Indonesia is among the most aggressive and innovative in the world.”
Tobacco Control also said national data reveals 62 percent of Indonesian men smoke, and the World Health Organisation says the figure is as high as 74 percent in some rural areas.
Indonesia has over 79 million males aged between 15 and 64 years, according to the CIA World Factbook.
CIA Wolrd Factbook
Djarum Black Cigarettes, by Djarum (My IP address is denied access to the homepage of this brand. Indonesia has some censorship and restricted internet access and for some reason, this site is restricted to me)
World Health Organisation