Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to find out whether the plain packaging format in cigarette labeling is worth adopting or not. Design/methodology/approach – A lab experiment with a 2 (existing vs plain packaging format) × 2 (familiar vs unfamiliar brand) factorial design was conducted with Chinese subjects in Macau. Findings – The plain packaging format in cigarette labeling reduces both smoking intent and brand likability in familiar brand condition but not unfamiliar brand condition. Social implications – When many governments are currently deliberating about whether to follow the plain packaging initiative, this study constitutes a timely investigation of the effects of it on smoking intent and brand likability among Chinese young non-smokers. The positive effect of the plain packaging in familiar brand condition provides the justification of adopting it by the governments. Originality/value – Studies of plain packaging have not been taking brand familiarity into consideration (the only exceptional study used the top three familiar brands and thus failed to examine the familiarity effect) but the study focussed on it. In the data analysis, if brand familiarity is not considered, wrong conclusion will be drawn. Therefore, by having brand familiarity as moderator, the authors are able to correctly conclude that plain packaging format is worth adopting.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management
- Strategy and Management