Marketing Prohibition: How Products Get Popular With the Ban of Marketing

Every day, we are bombarded by marketing campaigns of all kinds. Regardless of the product promoted by the ad, the message underlying most ads are the same: your life would be much better with this or that product. There’s nothing wrong with it. Companies need to compete to survive in the market and gain the customers’ preferences. So the sales pitch must be strong. What happens with a product that can’t be advertised, though?


Giving Marketing a Bad Name

Because advertising has the power of changing our minds about buying or not something, it must be dealt with care. Responsible marketing strategies take children and vulnerable consumers into consideration. Alcohol advertisements can be problematic for those trying to overcome addiction, for instance. Tobacco advertising was banned in several countries in the same spirit. 

Some niches have very strict regulations that prohibit the marketing of certain products. Many countries also impose strict regulations on gambling advertising, for instance. The same goes for alcohol and tobacco. Restricting publicity is an efficient strategy for reducing consumption. So, most of them have their ads restricted, even online ones. 

Surviving the Ban

Yet, the industries that got their advertisements banned still thrive. How come? More importantly, if these products are still legal, why can’t companies advertise them? 

Markets Often Targeted by Bans

  • Tobacco
  • Alcohol
  • Junk food
  • Gambling
  • Guns

First of all, it’s essential to remember that the intention of such bans isn’t to prohibit any product. However, underaged audiences should never be enticed to consume the products mentioned above. Despite all the technology today for ad targeting, it’s impossible to tell when an ad will reach a vulnerable audience. Besides, the popularity of these products predates the ban, and even most marketing strategies for that matter.

Last year, a study conducted in London followed the effects of banning ads for junk food. It resulted in a cut of about 1,000 calories on people’s weekly diet, or approximately a bar and a half of chocolate weekly. The reduction was probably more welcomed by doctors than by the chocolate industry. Yet, the blow wasn’t even nearly enough to scratch the junk food market. Additionally, it raised awareness about the risks of excessive consumption.


The same pattern can be observed in other markets. Cigarettes haven’t gone anywhere. Still, the number of smokers has reduced dramatically since anti-tobacco marketing restrictions. Moreover, anyone trying a cigarette today is aware of its risks, contrasting with the glamour it was associated with back in the day.


Maybe, casino ads are restricted in your country. Yet, if you go to a search engine and do a casino-related search, you’ll be strafed by ads, reviews, and all sorts of promotional material. Many countries forbid alcohol ads. Yet, you’ll find loads of websites comparing the best beers and even teaching how to brew them yourself if you go online. 

You can easily find and consume these products, provided that you’re above the legal age. Besides, these markets are already part of our culture, whether we like it or not. We don’t need an ad to buy chocolate when we feel like eating something sweet. Yet, watching chocolate ads every day can induce us to eat more often than we should. The same goes for the other industries mentioned in this article.