top of page

Big Vape: When a Company Loses its Marketing Mojo


I often find unexpected marketing inspiration while enjoying a Netflix evening, once my kids are snugly in bed. In fact, I highly recommend it to all my students in the Introduction to Marketing course, especially as preparation for Session 8! You'll discover surprising parallels with design thinking, product management, marketing strategy, and the importance of staying aligned in our marketing planning. But for all other seasoned marketers, here's a lesson that could save you from a potential catastrophe.

"Big Vape" is a documentary that explores the rapid rise of Juul, the company behind the most popular e-cigarette among young people. Beyond its captivating story, "Big Vape" offers a fascinating marketing lesson – the tumultuous marketing strategy of Juul.

Juul's Marketing Strategy: A Shift Out of Sync with Reality

At its inception, Juul had a clear mission: to provide an alternative to traditional smoking by offering an elegantly designed e-cigarette with attractive flavors. The company targeted an adult audience seeking solutions to quit smoking.

However, over time, Juul dramatically shifted its marketing trajectory. Instead of staying true to its initial mission, the company deliberately targeted young people by using appealing flavors to attract a younger audience. This decision had alarming consequences, with a significant increase in e-cigarette use among teenagers.

The Lesson: Stay True to Your Mission and Target Audience

Juul's story and its chaotic marketing strategy remind us of the crucial importance of maintaining alignment between your mission, objectives, and target audience. When defining your mission, it's imperative to follow it throughout your marketing journey. A clear mission guides your decisions and ensures that every action taken aligns with your company's identity.

Similarly, your target audience is an essential component of your marketing strategy. Understanding who your potential customers are, their needs, and preferences is fundamental for creating relevant content and advertising campaigns. You must remain focused on customer satisfaction and avoid unnecessary deviations.

Juul's story is a striking example of what can happen when alignment is lost. If you stray from your mission and target audience, you risk disorienting your customers and diluting your marketing message.

Conclusion: A Reminder for All Marketers

Juul's story in the documentary "Big Vape" serves as a reminder for all marketers. A strong marketing strategy begins with a clear mission and a deep understanding of your target audience. Deviating from these fundamentals can have undesirable consequences for your reputation and success.

So, what can we learn from "Big Vape"? Stay true to your mission, objectives, and target audience. A robust marketing strategy is one that maintains its momentum throughout the journey, never losing sight of the story you wish to convey to your audience.


bottom of page