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Responsible marketing

We have adopted self-regulation for the marketing and advertising of our products.

At British American Tobacco we believe in upholding high standards of corporate behaviour. We agree that the tobacco industry should be regulated, but we also think we should be able to communicate in a responsible way with adult tobacco consumers about our products, in order to grow market share.

British American Tobacco’s International Marketing Principles provide a consistent and responsible approach to marketing across the Group. They replace the International Marketing Standards which were launched in 2001 and updated in 2007. The new Marketing Principles ensure our approach reflects developments in marketing, technology and changing regulations and stakeholder expectations.

The Marketing Principles comprise four core principles which we believe are at the heart of responsible tobacco marketing. The rationale for each principle is explained and illustrated by a set of core standards which show how they should be applied in our communications with consumers.

The Marketing Principles outline what all our Group Companies must consider when planning their tobacco marketing activities but they do not offer standards for every activity. Where no standard is expressly provided, judgement must be exercised in the application of the Marketing Principles to the activity concerned.

Our four core principles are

  1. Our marketing will not mislead about the risks of smoking.
  2. We will only market our products to adult smokers.
  3. We will not seek to influence the consumer’s decision about whether or not to smoke, nor how much to smoke.
  4. It should always be clear to our consumers that our advertising originates from a tobacco company and that it is intended to promote the sale of our tobacco brands.

Local laws

The International Marketing Principles are our minimum standard and will be applied even when they are stricter than local laws. However, if local laws or other voluntary codes in markets are stricter than or override our Marketing Principles, then we will abide by those laws or voluntary codes.

Where local laws are less strict we promote higher standards generally, as well as a level competitive playing field, and ask governments to embody our Principles or similar provisions into local law.

Trade Marketing and Distribution

Our final products are distributed to more than 135,300 retailers throughout the entire Central American and Caribbean Region; of these, 91 thousand outlets are visited by our own sales force and the remainder by our company’s distributors.

The mission of the Trade Marketing and Distribution Department is to reach our target consumer efficiently and effectively, making us the trade’s preferred supplier within the strategic channels in each country where we operate.

As one of the leading consumer goods companies, our objective is to make sure our products arrive at retail outlets in an efficient and effective manner in terms of costs, and in the best condition possible. We constantly supervise and evaluate our supply chain to ensure our brands are delivered using the best distribution methods.

The activities of this department are focused on guaranteeing product availability, communicating directly with consumers at the point-of-sale, and identifying strategic points of sales in each marketing channel, while ensuring that they comply with applicable marketing regulations as well our industry’s Marketing Standards.

Our main distribution channels are:

  • Horeca: Hotels, restaurants, and cafés
  • Convenience: Traditional (kiosks) and key accounts
  • Grocery: Mini-supermarkets and stores

Retailer relationships

Trade marketing is a large part of our activity - managing business-to-business relationships with the retailers from whom our consumers buy. We place as strong an emphasis on being a high quality supplier to the trade as we do on working to ensure high standards amongst our own suppliers.

We aim to become the benchmark partner to the trade in the strategic channels where we do business. We work to operate in the most efficient and effective way so that retailers can offer the products our consumers want to buy, where they want them, when they want them, at the right quality, price and quantity.

It is the nature of our industry that we do business with a substantial cross section of customers, ranging from the largest retail corporations to the small independent shop owner.

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