The One Where We Discuss Unsavory Marketing, or Appearances Are Everything
Vaping is something we are passionate about, something that we truly love, and believe in. That's why we make juice, and that's why we hold ourselves to some particular standards. This is not intended as a 'we are the best, and anyone who doesn't do it our way is wrong' statement, but more as a disclaimer as to the reason for this short essay.
Vaping changed my life, and one of the best parts of the job is watching it change other people's lives as well. This is also one of the reasons that we feel it is imperative to do what we can to protect it, and contribute positively to the growth of the industry.
So what are you getting at?
Well, I get concerned when I see marketing for vapor products that edges past controversial, and dives directly into detrimental.
Vaping is a sub-culture still. Yes, it's growing, but it isn't mainstream yet. How many times have you had to explain to someone what you're doing, or that there's not any anti-freeze in the liquid, or that it's actually pretty rare to blow up a device if you practice proper battery safety? Or even what battery safety means? Probably a fair amount. I usually enjoy the opportunity to educate, and maybe even get another smoker the help they needed to give it a try.
It sounds like there's a 'but' there.
Yes, there is. Vaping is a new marketplace, essentially unregulated, and pretty open to vendors to try new ideas and presentations. Which is good, it's one of the parts that makes it exciting. Leads to new products, new flavors, new innovations. But, it also lends itself to exploitation and lowest common denominator tactics. Please do not take this as anyone passing judgment on any specific product or company, because that is not the point of this discussion. This is about the presentation of our industry as a whole, both within the vape world, and to the larger public.
...ok. What's that mean?
It means that maybe using artwork that basically copies children's cereal boxes for your new juice isn't a great idea. Or making a bottle that looks like prescription medication containers. Or using the same font as a candy company. Or using trademarked characters. Or a brand name of a particular liquor. We see & hear every day how this industry is under attack, from regulators, from government agencies, from tobacco and pharmaceutical companies, from concerned citizens. Every day we see another Call To Action, or hear of a vote in a state legislature, and we do all that we can to try and defend vaping. We want to be able to demonstrate that we can self-regulate, that we are responsible businesses, that we are citizens that contribute to the greater good. While I seriously doubt that any company is intentionally marketing to children, there are products on the shelves that can be used to fuel that fire of moral outrage, products that make for great pictures for the anti-vaping crowd to hold up at a town council meeting. I'm not saying that we can't have fun, that we can't make interesting juices and advertise them in new and novel ways, that we can't make amazing and colorful artwork and marketing campaigns, because we can. So many great companies are doing exactly this, every day, and have been since day one, turning out amazing juices with brilliant, responsible advertising.
I'm not here to decide what is acceptable to the community and what isn't. I can't make that choice for another person, and I don't want someone making that decision for me. But we can, as a whole. By letting the companies know, by speaking out, and the most powerful of all of the tools available, by deciding who you support with your purchases.