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Creativity and controversy – how PMI spreads the word about IQOS

Promotional activity of various kinds, some of it highly creative, has helped IQOS expand its global market share – but not without a share of controversy.

Philip Morris International (PMI) has used various forms of below-the-line (BTL) advertising – activities beyond conventional advertising – to convince some 4m people to try its heated tobacco product.

This has included social-media activity, influencers, events, sponsorship and a global roll-out of boutiques where expert sales staff can work one-on-one with customers.

The focus on BTL advertising has been partly due to necessity as, in several jurisdictions, ambiguity remains about tobacco products and above-the-line (ATL) advertising – generally taken to be all advertising through conventional mediums such as broadcast, print and outdoor platforms.

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