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Hidden in Plain Sight: Surrogate Marketing of Tobacco Products on Social Media in India

According to the 2017 Global Adult Tobacco Survey India Report, nearly 267 million Indians—or 29% of all adults—use tobacco. Marketing leads to tobacco initiation and use, particularly among youth. Digital media, including social media platforms, is becoming increasingly central to companies’ marketing strategies.

Our new study uncovers the “hidden” tobacco marketing on social media in India. This includes surrogate marketing, where companies’ non-tobacco products are marketed with similar branding as its tobacco products, rendering them virtually indistinguishable to an untrained eye, as well as company brand extension marketing, where the tobacco company’s logo and trademark is applied to non-tobacco products and services.

This report summarizes data from the Tobacco Enforcement and Reporting Movement (TERM), a continuous digital media monitoring system, and explores how and through which platforms this “hidden” tobacco marketing is reaching consumers.

See the TERM website for more