Post A: Time for Change

With all the previous blog posts, it has been established that tobacco culture is strong and thriving in Indonesia. Designers are the driving force of success for all industries; creating a product, and marketing it to be desirable in the eyes of all. Indonesia is at the mercy of tobacco companies, with limited laws and regulations against advertising, product placement and loosely enforced age restrictions (Amul and Pangestu, 2018).

The most powerful way to enter the market barrier is by ‘consumer preference’ usually created by advertising and promotion (Shepherd, 1985). These companies have mastered a method to change the existing consumer preferences by conducting market research, designing sophisticated advertising and partaking in promotional activities, which in turn builds them publicity in the media. Companies like Gudang Garam and Djarum, claim they do not target youth, their advertising suggests otherwise through displaying an ideal lifestyle. Young men, dressed in smart suits, fawn over women as the voice over says, “I rule the world because I live Bold”, this is one example, that has lead young Indonesian boys to associate smoking with masculinity (Tjandra, 2018). Advertisements saturate the streets of Ambon, covering shop fronts, houses and billboards; a study found that in most places in Indonesia cigarettes are sold within 300m of schools, Lucky Strike even sells flavoured cigarettes and can be sold individually making it more affordable for children (Boseley, Collyns, Lamb and Dhillon, 2018).

LA Bold Commercial, 2018

This toxic but well-designed industry is similar to the alcoholic beverages in Australia. Unlike Indonesia the government has taken a stronger action to counteract it. Recognising that alcoholic advertising was reaching children, the Alcoholic Beverages Advertising Code was improved. This is as a reaction to an increase in non-traditional media, like on demand, parental complaints over ad placement and pressure from policy makers (Baker, 2017). Just as tobacco companies offer scholarships and sponsor community events; alcoholic companies in Australia sponsors sport, music and cultural events (Davey, 2017).

Designers need to be activists and radical shifts are needed to allow any form of activism to evolve” (Cintio, 2014).

With a range of stakeholders to please, designers are faced with a difficult challenge. The same market research and sophisticated tactics these companies utilise need to be adopted to subvert ‘consumer preference’ once again. A successful form of design activism is culture jamming, created in 1980 seeking to critique and subvert consumer culture (DeLaure and Fink, 2017). Similarly, to a worksheet from ‘the Healthy Lungs Project’, culture jamming should be more widely used for tobacco and alcohol advertising, showing and teaching people what is actually ‘cool’.


Amul, G. and Pangestu, T. 2018, Big Tobacco’s smoke and mirrors in ASEAN – Policy Forum, Policy Forum. viewed 29 January 2019, <;.

Baker, R. 2017, New rules on placement of alcohol ads loom large, Adnews. viewed 30 January 2019, <;.

Boseley, S., Collyns, D., Lamb, K. and Dhillon, A. 2018, How children around the world are exposed to cigarette advertising, the Guardian. viewed 30 January 2019, <;.

Davey, M. 2017, Australia failing to stop alcohol ads reaching children, experts say, the Guardian. viewed 30 January 2019, <;.

DeLaure, M. and Fink, M. 2017, Culture jamming, New York University Press, New York.

Di Cintio, L. 2014, ‘Design Activism: Developing models, modes and methodologies of practice’, IDEA Journal, vol. 19, pp. 2-4.

LA Bold 2018, I Live Bold – Official TVC, viewed 29 January 2019, <;.

Shepherd P., 1985, Transnational corporations and the international cigarette industry. In: Newfarmer R, editor. Profits, progress and poverty. Case studies of international industries in Latin America. University of Notre Dame Press Notre Dame; Indiana.

Tjandra, N. 2018, ‘Disneyland for Big Tobacco’: how Indonesia’s lax smoking laws are helping next generation to get hooked, The Conversation. viewed 30 January 2019, <;.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s