How To Brand “Bad For You”

A profile of an electronic cigarette brand reveals how advertisers evaluate the market potential of unhealthy living:

[Geoff] Vuleta, the product-innovation consultant, told [e-cigarette developer Craig] Weiss about his experience working with Procter & Gamble on a new, rice-based Pringles. It was a low-fat snack, but the harder the company marketed its health benefits, the more indifferent consumers were.

“What they realized,” Weiss says, “was when people want something healthy, they walk down that aisle where they sell corrugated cardboard and rice cakes. When you walk down the Pringles aisle, you want the fat. You know it’s bad for you; that’s what you want.” Vuleta advised the company to rethink rice: Its role in Asian cooking was to absorb, and serve as a foundation for, all the flavor. As soon as P&G began marketing its new product as flavorful “Pringles Rice Infusions,” sales improved.