POST A: Two parties using design to their advantage

As designers, we hold far more responsibility than ever in this digital world where technology is relied on. A designer has the power to control how a space can be more hospitable and the way the general population consumes context (Role of design in society, chapter 1).

In Indonesia, the tobacco industry has used design to their advantage in order to boost tobacco consumerism. A tobacco company giant that has been notorious in pushing their kretek products to men through heavy graphics is ‘PT Gudang Garam’. In their graphics, they depict masculine men and this notion of masculinity has been further supported by their infamous slogan ‘Kretekeknya lelaki’, meaning ‘man’s cigarette’. This has been successful as more than 62% of their men smoke and 90% of are kretek smokers (Tobacco control, 2009). This graphic design as a form of advertising to a large demographic is dangerous in a country like Indonesia as it has not signed with the ‘WHO-FCTC’ (WHO, 2015) which means mainstream tobacco advertising coverage is still prevalent. So why are the deaths of these men ignored? The tobacco industry is one of the largest source of government revenue (Tobacco control, 2009) and with the backing of the government, the industry thrives.

Masculine graphic advertisement by Gudang Garam. Catherine Reynolds, 1999, Tobacco advertising in Indonesia: “the defining characteristics for success”, viewed 20 December 2019, https://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/8/1/85

The continuous use of political power and design, Gudang Garam held a rock competition in 2007 and a rock festival called Rockinland in 2011. These festivals were again targeted at males, as all of their graphic promotional materials depicted rock symbols which were masculine. Apart from that, Rockinland’s lineup were male rockstars to further portray this lifestyle of ruggedness. Similarly, the Jakarta open which was a male’s tennis event was also sponsored by the tobacco industry. Drawing considerations starting from as simple as masculine graphics to enlisting only male stars ultimately is clever design as each element is cohesively attractive to their male target market.

A graphic poster showcasing Rockin’land’s male dominated lineup. Cranberriesworld, 2011, ‘Rockinland festival lineup’, viewed 20 December 2019, http://cranberriesworld.com/live/concerts/java-rockinland-festival-2011-2011-07-23/.

A communal organisation however, has used this design formula to advocate for a more sustainable future. ‘Kartel Awul Yogyarkata’ holds events targeted at youths, predominately males with their primary focus on encouraging them to trade and sell used clothing. The events are generally held at the few skateparks alongside local punk bands in order to appeal to this demographic. Similarly, they advertise graphically through their cult online presence. Although these events do not have primary involvement with tobacco, they do have anti-smoking zones in the larger areas of these events such as the foodcourt and the thrift stalls which can discourage general smoking there.

A band playing at the Kartel Awul YG event I attended, 2019.
stakeholder map and chain to vaguely show the relationship both parties share with government and people of Indonesia, 2019.

Catherine Reynolds, 1999, Tobacco advertising in Indonesia: “the defining characteristics for success”, viewed 20 December 2019, https://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/8/1/85

Cranberriesworld, 2011, ‘Rockinland festival lineup’, viewed 20 December 2019, http://cranberriesworld.com/live/concerts/java-rockinland-festival-2011-2011-07-23/.

Mimi Nitcher, 2009, ‘Reading culture from tobacco advertisements in Indonesia ‘, tobaccocontrol, viewed 20 December 2019, https://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/18/2/98.

SEATCA, 2010, ‘International artists performing at Indonesian tobacco-sponsored rock festival despite protests’, viewed 20 December 2019, https://seatca.org/international-artists-performing-at-indonesian-tobacco-sponsored-rock-festival-despite-protests/.

World health organisation, 2015, ‘Tobacco control in Indonesia’, WHO, viewed 20 December 2019, https://www.who.int/tobacco/about/partners/bloomberg/idn/en/.

Post D: Tobacco industry dominates Indonesia

Known to have rudimentary tobacco control policies, Indonesia ranks highly among countries with the highest tobacco consumption statistics globally. With rampant and prevalent tobacco advertisement and promotion highly visible in all media, the lax enforcement of legislative policies in Indonesia has resulted in detrimental consequences to their peoples’ health. The only Asia-Pacific country that has not ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, Indonesia’s public health standards suffer as the country’s government fails to protect its citizens. 

Vital Stategies #SuaraTanpaRokok campaign targeting tobacco promotion in Indonesia (Vital Strategies, 2018).

With tobacco advertising ‘among the most innovative and aggressive in the world’ (Sebayang et al., 2012), Indonesia is evidently dominated by the tobacco industry. As advertisements and promotion for tobacco fill the streets of cities like Yogyakarta, larger companies have relentlessly implemented brand imagery and advertisement on billboards, television, in magazines, sponsorship, events, activities, interactive media and more (Prabandari and Dewi, 2016). With so much focus on advertisement is has undeniably become inevitable that the increase of smoking prevalence among the younger generation in Indonesia has increased rapidly over the years. It is said that in 2007, 99.7% of the Indonesian youth revealed to have seen tobacco promotion on television, 87% on billboards, 76% on print mediums and 81% had attended at least one event sponsored by the tobacco industry within their lifetime (Prabandari and Dewi, 2016).

Map of Yogyakarta, visual representation of tobacco promotion exposure to the youth of Indonesia (Data from Prabandari and Dewi, 2016.)

Intertwined between the legal, political and economic factors and considerations of Indonesia, the power of tobacco production within Indonesia contributes to being one of the largest sources of government revenue after gas and oil (Nichter et al., 2008). Often advertised and claimed to be a part of the culture, the Indonesian tobacco industry is decentralised as the cigarette excise taxes are one of the most important sources of national revenue, generating approximately 28 trillion rupiah ($4.2 billion US dollars) in 2006 (Nichter et al., 2008). A lack of initiative to change policies to better tobacco control within the country, the Minister of Finance stated that he ‘sympathise[s] with the idea of getting people to stop smoking, but for now, the cost is too high’ (Nichter et al., 2008).

A change that will require a strong will power from the country’s leaders, it is now more than ever that Indonesia needs to create and enforce anti-tobacco policies and legislations on a national and international level. A push for behavioural change needs to be implemented in order to save the younger generations from the harmful impacts of nicotine addiction and tobacco dependence.

References

Achadi, A., Soerojo, W. and Barber, S. 2004, The relevance and prospects of advancing tobacco control in Indonesia, Science Direct, pp.333-350, viewed 24 November 2019, <https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S016885100400209X?token=23E186940EC41147619C6890FF92BBC4DF6E2743C6924063349769EFF7B9FC063DCB1F07AFA4015750A13C624CEC9F86&gt;.

Indonesia – Tobacco Atlas 2019, Tobaccoatlas.org. viewed 24 November 2019, <https://tobaccoatlas.org/country/indonesia/&gt;.

McCall, C. 2014, Tobacco advertising still rife in southeast Asia, The Lancet, vol 384, no 9951, pp.1335-1336, viewed 24 November 2019, <https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)61804-3/fulltext&gt;.

Nichter, M., Padmawati, S., Danardono, M., Ng, N., Prabandari, Y. and Nichter, M. 2008, Reading culture from tobacco advertisements in Indonesia, Tobacco Control, vol 18, no 2, pp.98-107, viewed 24 November 2019, <https://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/18/2/98&gt;.

Nichter, M., Padmawati, S., Danardono, M., Ng, N., Prabandari, Y. and Nichter, M. 2008, Reading culture from tobacco advertisements in Indonesia, Tobacco Control, vol 18, no 2, pp.98-107, viewed 24 November 2019, <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19033331&gt;.

Prabandari, Y. and Dewi, A. 2016, How do Indonesian youth perceive cigarette advertising? A cross-sectional study among Indonesian high school students, Global Health Action, vol 9, no 1, p.30914, viewed 24 November 2019, <https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.3402/gha.v9.30914?needAccess=true&gt;.

Sebayang, S., Rosemary, R., Widiatmoko, D., Mohamad, K. and Trisnantoro, L. 2012, Better to die than to leave a friend behind: industry strategy to reach the young, Tobacco Control 2012, pp.370-372, viewed 24 November 2019, <http://ezproxy.lib.uts.edu.au/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.lib.uts.edu.au/docview/1781954926?accountid=17095&gt;.

Vital Strategies 2018, #SuaraTanpaRokok, viewed 24 November 2019, <https://twitter.com/vitalstrat/status/960933916063518721&gt;.

Post D: Indonesia’s Omnipresent Tobacco Culture

Traces of tobacco exist in every crevice of Ambon: used cigarette butts discarded on the sidewalk; empty cigarette packets floating in the river; Ambonese men smoking along the streets; and the smell of tobacco wafting through the air – all constant reminders of tobacco’s long history in Indonesia, rich with cultural symbolism and associations that existed before the advent of advertising (Reynolds 1999). Perhaps the most jarring, and arguably the most noticeable, aspect of tobacco culture is the plethora of tobacco advertising that densely saturates the Indonesian landscape.

Hand-drawn map of a walk in Ambon observing tobacco advertisements

On a short walk around Ambon – through quiet residential areas, the bustling market, and busy main roads – it is quickly evident that one can barely walk a few metres without seeing cigarette advertisements plastered on cloth banners, wall posters or big billboards (Nichter et al. 2009).

Photographs taken during a walk around Ambon, Indonesia

The frequency in which these tobacco advertisements appear is appalling, and Indonesia’s alarming smoking statistics can in part be attributed to the aggressive and innovative cigarette marketing prevalent in Ambon and other parts of Indonesia (Nichter et al. 2009). In the city of Yogyakarta in Central Java, tobacco billboards are displayed prominently, and most small kiosks and shops are covered with tobacco advertisements – which concurs with the advertising landscape in Ambon as well, as seen from the images above (Nichter et al. 2009). Similarly, in Denpasar, Bali, it was found that 7 out of 10 retailers displayed at least one banner promoting cigarette products (Astuti & Freeman 2018). The combination of persistent advertising and readily available and affordable cigarettes, among other social and cultural factors, has resulted in over 62% of Indonesian males smoking regularly, and boys as young as 10-years-old beginning to smoke (Achadi, Soerojo & Barber 2005).

Although the dense saturation of tobacco advertising in Indonesia is shocking to witness, the most worrying aspect, however, is how these advertisements are seamlessly integrated into the Indonesian landscape and tobacco becomes synonymous with Indonesian culture. As a foreigner visiting Indonesia for the first time and experiencing culture shock from being bombarded with tobacco advertising, the imagery and slogans have started to blend into the environment and I have begun to accept that tobacco culture is a norm in Indonesia. Considering my own firsthand experience, I could only imagine that the local Indonesians have also accepted tobacco as a normality and are not fazed by the saturation of tobacco advertisements – tobacco is so deeply engrained in the fabric of Indonesian culture that the advertisements seemingly belong in front of houses and kiosk shops. Indigenous cigarette advertising exploits and manipulates Indonesian cultural values to promote smoking, and when published en masse, can create a natural association between desirable lifestyle attributes and tobacco – cultivating beliefs and habits in favour of tobacco that has proven, and will continue, to be extremely difficult to alter (Reynolds 1999).


References:

Achadi, A., Soerojo, W. & Barber, S. 2005, ‘The relevance and prospects of advancing tobacco control in Indonesia’, Health Policy, vol. 72, no. 3, pp. 333-349.

Astuti, P. & Freeman, B. 2018, Protecting young Indonesian hearts from tobacco, The Conversation, viewed 20 January 2019, <https://theconversation.com/protecting-young-indonesian-hearts-from-tobacco-97554?fbclid=IwAR1cOwtSijNbCAgT4NrZf0Q2CxfiSWZC1lO3iQesk_umTe5AwkDb2hCNKSA&gt;.

Nichter, M., Padmawati, S., Danardono, M., Ng, N., Prabandari, Y. & Nichter, M. 2009, ‘Reading culture from tobacco advertisements in Indonesia’, Tobacco Control, vol. 18, pp. 98-107.

Reynolds, C. 1999, ‘Tobacco advertising in Indonesia: “the defining characteristics for success”’, Tobacco Control, vol. 8, pp. 85-88.

POST A: The Parameters Of Tobacco Promotion And Demotion, And The Ethics Of Change. 

Designers provide an ability to contribute positively, negatively or as an agent for change within any context. The parameters influencing them are society, culture and government. A thorough understanding of the stakeholders, product/service and end-user produces effective design solutions that in-turn influence the final outcomes success. Across the world, everything related to tobacco, wether it be the cigarette, packaging or paraphernalia, has been influenced by a designer and Indonesia is no exception to this, actually what they have achieved is rather exceptional.

It would be unjust to hand all the credit to designers. Whilst they play a key role, tobacco’s success to such a high degree is only made possible due to its deeply rooted interdependence in Indonesias socio-cultural, political and economic framework. In order to be an ethical designer, once must consider the determinants that influence tobaccos high prevalence. For Indonesian men, smoking is viewed as a signifier of masculinity (Nawi, 2007), whereas for women, they are a symbol of the new feminist movement (WHO 2012). If one wanted to promote change via methods of design activism, one would understand that to radically eradicate tobacco in Indonesia would be financially devastating to many, a futile solution. The tobacco industry is “a major source of tax revenue for the Indonesian Government” (World Bank, 2001). Although the costs of smoking attributable healthcare expenditures are forecast to cost Indonesia trillions by 2030 (Djutaharta, T. & Vijaya, S., 2003), Tobacco companies within Indonesia provide copious grants and opportunities that far outweigh this. This is evident with examples like Sampoerna University, a University named after a Phillip Morris’ kretek subsidiary cigarette brand. It is widely known that the university offers grants of up to $41,000 US for their top performing students, in addition to various entry-scholarships (The Jakarta Post, 2018).

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Figure 1- A pack of flavoured Esse cigarettes. With minimal warnings, the bright and colourful packaging and the product itself, it is evidently designed to target young women.

Marlboro Filter Black indonesia Cigarettes front image
Figure 2 – A pack of Marlborough blacks, this brand has strong associations with masculinity.

These practices of promoting cigarettes is in stark contrast to Australia, with a large focus on anti-smoking promotions and campaigns of prevention. In 2006, plain-packaging and graphic warnings in Australia for instance, was a design method implemented for the purpose of the anti-tobacco initiative (The Department of Health, 2018). In Indonesia, the design tactics being used to promote cigarettes and tobacco are transparent.  Whereas in Australia design tactics are bing used to render cigarettes and tobacco as unappealing.

autralia-cigarette
Figure 3 – The evolution of anti-tobacco design tactics with regards to packaging within Australia.

References

Ng, N., Prabandari, Y., Padmawati, R., Okah, F., Haddock, C., Nichter, M., Nichter, M., Muramoto, M., Poston, W., Pyle, S., Mahardinata, N. and Lando, H. 2007, ‘Physician assessment of patient smoking in Indonesia: a public health priority’, Tobacco Control, vol 16, no 3, pp.190-196.

World Health Organization 2012, Tobacco Control in Indonesia, viewed 8 December 2018, <http://www.who.int/tobacco/about/partners/bloomberg/idn/en/&gt;.

Djutaharta, T. & Vijaya, S., 2003, ‘Research on tobacco in Indonesia: an annotated bibliography and review on tobacco use, health effects, economics and control efforts’, HNAP Discussion Paper: Economics of Tobacco Control, No. 10, pp. 1-66.

Indonesia-Investment 2018, Cigarette & Tobacco Industry Indonesia: Rising Pressures in 2018?, viewed 21 December 2018, <https://www.indonesia-investments.com/news/todays-headlines/cigarette-tobacco-industry-indonesia-rising-pressures-in-2018/item8471>

The Department of Health 2018, Smoking Prevalence Rates, viewed 21 December 2018<http://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/tobacco-control-toc~smoking-rates>

Figure 1, cigarettes online store, viewed 21 December 2018, <http://www.cigarettescigs.com> 

Figure 2, The Skeptical Cardiologist, viewed 21 December 2018, <https://theskepticalcardiologist.com/2017/10/08/why-doesnt-the-usa-have-graphic-warning-labels-on-cigarette-packs-like-the-netherlands/>

Figure 3, Clove cigarettes online, viewed 21 December 2018, <https://www.clovecigarettesonline.com/products/marlboro-cigarettes/marlboro-filter-black-clove-cigarettes-details&gt;

POST C: Pride, Prejudice And Tobaccos New Target

IMG_3923
Figure 1 – A local Surabayan woman walking through the Arab District.

In Indonesia, 67.4% of males and 4.5% of females partake in the habit of tobacco smoking (WHO, 2018). Despite it costing billions in healthcare and a growing awareness of the negative effects of both active and passive smoke inhalation, there appears to be little change or incentive in the populace quitting and the amount of new smokers taking up the habit. Reasons for this lack of change are best explored by analysing the public advertising and marketing of tobacco, religious beliefs, sociology and gender.

The act of smoking amongst Indonesian males is viewed as a signifier of masculinity and a way to increase their social status (Nawi, 2007), this has been the zeitgeist since its inception into their culture. Because of this long-term and widely held sentiment, the male market for tobacco in Indonesia has reached a saturation point. However, existing today is a rapidly increasing rate of smoking among Indonesian women (Ng et al. 2007). As Indonesia is experiencing a new wave of feminism, tobacco companies are targeting young women by promoting cigarettes as “torches of freedom” (WHO, 2012), marketing them to be synonymous with defiance and independence. For these women, their choice in wether or not to smoke poses a series of conflicts between personal desires as well as social and religious expectations (Pampel, 2006). The experiences of those desires, pressures and expectations are represented though the perspective of my interviewee Nyssa Putri.

Speaking with the twenty one year old, Surabayan, graphic design student — Nyssa expressed that smoking for women in Indonesia is considered by many as “lower-class and for sex-workers” (2018) with a particular emphasis on the word “taboo” (2018). She expanded on this phrase citing that education of the health risks related to tobacco (especially for females) is “taboo” (2018) and consequently “not talked about” (2018). Despite Nyssa being a well-educated female, she actively partakes in smoking. When asked why she simply smiled, showed off a few of her tattoos and stated “I am a modern Indonesian, I enjoy smoking to relieve the stress of my studies, a lot of us here (at ITS) do” (2018). Her eyes gleamed as she affectionately described how she and her friends like to build towers in the ashtray on the balcony of her home where they would study together.

Tobacco advertising in Indonesia is largely aspirational and subliminally engrained within sponsorships of many youth events. In conjunction to their tactics of marketing and associating themselves with desirable lifestyles, the branding of many new cigarettes target young women. This is achieved through more ‘feminine’ – flavoured cigarettes and colourful packaging. For our interview, Nyssa kindly brought a series ‘Esse’ cigarettes among them were her favourites ‘Honey Pop’ and ‘Berry Pop’. She laid them out on the table, describing the satisfaction of “breaking the ball” and “inhaling the flavour” (2018).

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Figure 1 – A packet of ‘Berry Pop’ Esse cigarettes

Regardless of the conflicting messages within Indonesian culture toward women smoking, Nyssa seems to possess all the qualities that Tobacco companies would want their consumer to have. She is a “modern Indonesian” (2018), adopting a more ‘westernised’ lifestyle, is defiant toward the patriarchy and eager to practice her acts of defiance by being, as she says, “one of the boys” (2018). In summary, our conversation provided valuable insight into the perception of cigarettes and the identity it promotes for women. This proved valuable with regards to the conceptualisation of my teams solution, one that possessed a heavy focus on facilitating a positive identity with non-smoking.

References

World Health Organization 2018, Tobacco Control in Indonesia, viewed 8 December 2018 <http://www.who.int/tobacco/about/partners/bloomberg/idn/en/>.

Ng, N., Prabandari, Y., Padmawati, R., Okah, F., Haddock, C., Nichter, M., Nichter, M., Muramoto, M., Poston, W., Pyle, S., Mahardinata, N. and Lando, H. 2007, ‘Physician assessment of patient smoking in Indonesia: a public health priority’, Tobacco Control, vol 16, no 3, pp.190-196.

World Health Organization 2012, Tobacco Control in Indonesia, viewed 8 December 2018, <http://www.who.int/tobacco/about/partners/bloomberg/idn/en/>.

Fred C. Pampel 2006, Gobal Patterns and Determinants of Sex Differences in Smoking, viewed 21 December 2018 <https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0020715206070267>

Figure 1, Image captured by Maddison Rutter-Malley (2018).

Figure 2, Figure 1, cigarettes online store, viewed 21 December 2018, <http://www.cigarettescigs.com> 

POST A: Indonesian And Australian Design – What To Consider

Local context should always be considered when designing because it is “seen as a mirror and agent of change.” (Moalosi, R. Popovic, V. & Hickling-Hudson, A. 2006.) This varies a lot between countries or even between different groups within the same society. Context also has a “big influence on what people regard as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ design.” (BBC UK. 2014.) For example, in South Africa red is the colour of mourning. However, in China red symbolises good fortune. Trying to sell the same red product in those two countries would produce a very different response. Furthermore, any design for a society that has not considered their cultural beliefs as well as social and political practices has the potential to be pointless because it may lack meaning for them. Therefore, to be sure that a design will have an impact and serve the needs of the target market, it has to be created whilst considering their local mores. The only way you can do this is by understanding their social, technological, economic, environmental and political context. (Raynsford, N. & Lipton, S. 2000.) I realised this whilst immersing myself in the Indonesian culture, conducting research and undertaking an anti-smoking campaign with Vital Strategies, where my group and I designed a billboard to discourage smoking.

Walking around the colourful streets of Banjarmasin and talking to Indonesians allowed me to understand and respond to the unique social context of this engagement. For example, when developing our billboard design, we quickly noticed how popular it was amongst the Indonesian youth to take pictures using their smart phones. We also observed that unlike Australia where the predominant messaging application used is iMessage, in Indonesia, this was WhatsApp. As our billboard needed to be relevant to the audience we were targeting, this was an important piece of information we gathered to ensure the success of our design. In addition, we also learned through discussion with the Indonesian youth and Vital Strategies that our assumption of iPhones being as popular in Indonesia as they are in Australia was wrong. In fact, 88.37% of the Indonesian market in December 2017 (Statista. 2017.), used Android phones. As such we had to modify our design to reflect the social context in order to achieve greater local relevance and trigger an emotional response from the audience.

hidden_voices_banjarmasin
My group’s first iteration of the billboard started out in our presumed most popular format: iPhone. Our design had to change when we learned that Android phones were more popular in Indonesia. (Image: Group Durian. 2018.)

KadaHandakRokok_Billboard
Our final design using the Android format was more relevant to an Indonesian context. (Image: Group Durian. 2018.)

Furthermore, during my time in Banjarmasin I noticed some key cultural and regulatory differences between Australia and Indonesia exist. This makes the task of reducing the prevalence of smoking in Indonesia significantly more difficult. Such differences should be acknowledged and taken into consideration during any anti-smoking design initiative for Indonesia. Firstly, as a Muslim country, drinking is not a wide-spread recreational pastime and as such cigarettes are arguably of greater importance as a source of relaxation and social interaction.

2013_06_10_indonesia-1
Research into Indonesian cigarette advertisements. (Image: Lepew, P. 2011.)

Secondly, Indonesia is the “only country in the South-East Asia region that still allows cigarette advertisements to be aired on TV and radio, and ads are also printed in newspapers, magazines, and on billboards” (Anshari, D. 2017.), with only minor restrictions that the Tobacco Industry must adhere to. For example, this L.A. lights billboard to the left literally says “DON’T QUIT”. (Morris, P. 2011.) Conversely, Australia’s political context does not allow for any tobacco advertisements at all with the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act 1992. (The Department of Health. 2017.)

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IMG_1962
Walking the streets of Banjarmasin, it became apparent that cigarette advertising was far more prevalent than it is when I stroll the streets of Sydney. This difference needs to be acknowledged when designing for Indonesia or Australia. (Images above: Nicholl, A. 2018.)

Lastly, packaging laws in Indonesia allow for 60% of the packet to focus on branding and glamourising the product, with the remaining 40% to be on health warnings. (Anshari, D. 2017.) By contrast, Australian law prevents all branding and provides no opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves. Cigarette packaging must focus on the health warnings as a result of smoking alone under the recent Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011. (The Department of Health. 2017.)

indonesian cigarette packaging
At a street market in Banjarmasin, the health warnings on the cigarette packets were mostly covered up by a red sticker. This would be illegal in Australia. (Image: Nicholl, A. 2018.)

plainpackagingcigarettes
The uniform plain packaging of cigarette packets in Australia. (Image: Scott, L. 2017.)

Given these positive influences that actually promote smoking in Indonesia, I realised a design campaign there might focus not only on why smoking is bad for you like it is in Australia’s context, but could also consider ways to dismiss or negate positive attitudes towards smoking in order to successfully design for their context.

In addition, I have come to discover that an Indonesian anti-smoking campaign focussed on fears should not necessarily assume that culturally Indonesian people fear the same things as Australians. In Australia for example, design campaigns such as the plain packaging shown previously are very much focussed on premature death and the risk of dying. However, when I conducted an interview with youth leader Gading, he told me that Indonesians do not care about confronting pictures of disease because they know they will die anyway, so they may as well die smoking. (Fajar, G. 2018.) The prevalence of strong Muslim beliefs in Indonesia might mean that the fear of dying is less relevant and powerful. Arguments and designs that show smoking is somehow inconsistent with the values and beliefs of their religion may be far more likely to succeed in an anti-smoking design campaign.

Subsequently, design must always consider the social, political and cultural context.  Without acknowledging the importance of these local contexts, designers risk delivering messages that do not influence the target audience and risk failing to achieve their fundamental design objectives.

 

Reference List:

Anshari, D. 2017, ‘Effectiveness of Pictorial Health Warning Labels for Indonesia’s Cigarette Packages’, Doctoral Dissertation, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 20, viewed 31 January 2018, <https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5077&context=etd&gt;

BBC UK. 2014, Cultural Influences on Design, GCSE Bitesize, viewed 30 January 2018 <http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/design/resistantmaterials/designsocialrev5.shtml&gt;

Fajar, G. 2018, Interview, 19 January 2018

Group Durian, 2018. Billboard Final Design, 17 January 2018

Group Durian, 2018. Billboard Iteration One, 12 January 2018

Lepew, P. 2011, Indonesia Tobacco Giant’s Shameful Billboard Says “DON’T QUIT”, Tobacco Free Kids, viewed 31 January 2018 <https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/blog/2013_06_10_indonesia&gt;

Moalosi, R. Popovic, V. & Hickling-Hudson, A. 2006, ‘Culture-driven Product Innovation’, Proceedings 9th International Design Conference, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 573-578, viewed 30 January 2018, <http://eprints.qut.edu.au/archive/00004676&gt;

Morris, P. 2011, L.A. Lights ‘Don’t Quit’ Billboard, Tobacco Free Kids, viewed 31 January 2018 <https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/blog/2013_06_10_indonesia&gt;

Nicholl, A. 2018, Banjarmasin Cigarette Advertising, 08 January 2018

Nicholl, A. 2018, Glamourised Cigarette Packaging, 08 January 2018

Raynsford, N. & Lipton, S. 2000, ‘Urban Design In The Planning System: Towards Better Practice’, BETR Environmental Transport Regions, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-99, viewed 30 January 2018, <https://www.designcouncil.org.uk/sites/default/files/asset/document/by-design_0.pdf&gt;

Scott, L. 2017, Australia Wins Landmark WTO Tobacco Packaging Case, Acosh, viewed 31 January 2018 <https://www.acosh.org/australia-wins-landmark-wto-tobacco-packaging-case-bloomberg/&gt;

Statista. 2017, Market Share of Mobile Operating Systems in Indonesia from January 2012 to December 2017, The Statistics Portal, viewed 31 January 2018, <https://www.statista.com/statistics/262205/market-share-held-by-mobile-operating-systems-in-indonesia/&gt;

The Department of Health. 2017, Introduction of Tobacco Plain Packaging in Australia, Australian Government, viewed 31 January 2018, <http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/tobacco-plain&gt;

The Department of Health. 2017, Tobacco Advertising, Australian Government, viewed 31 January 2018, <http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/tobacco-advert&gt;