2017 has brought some interesting news related to vaping culture. First came the announcement of a vaping themed video game. Now, a slot machine called Diamond Vapor is beginning to appear in online casinos. While these developments are amusing even to many vapers, there is a message to be gleaned about the popularity of vaping in our society and questions to be asked about the future of marketing for the industry.
The Diamond Vapor Vaping Slot Machine
Diamond Vapor was developed by online casino software provider Endorphina. The company specializes in creating trendy slot machine games that have a strong visual appeal. Marketing a slot machine is no different from promoting other products and services. It has to strike a chord with players and be interesting enough to keep them playing.
Endorphina bills Diamond Vapor as the first vaping-themed slot machine and they launched a significant campaign to introduce it. The company created Vapeslot.com as a teaser where individuals could play the game for free. Prizes like Endorphina flavored e-liquids were awarded to players, and the game received a full roll out at the ICE Totally Gaming exhibition in London this past Febuary.
Diamond Vapor has all the bells and whistles you might expect from a standard slot machine. It works on the same scheme. Players are rewarded with payouts for lining up identical symbols. The difference here is that all of the symbols involve vaping in some way. Hip young vapers are prevalent, dressed in the current styles. Mods and devices are used on the reels. It’s enough to make a vaper want to reach for their mod, and those who don’t vape will still be thrilled by the graphics.
The important takeaway from the introduction of this slot machine is that the developers considered vaping to be popular enough to merit the game. In truth, Endorphina is merely following in the footsteps of another powerful industry that once sought the aid of slot machines to promote its products.
Slot Machines as a Marketing Tool for Vaping
It might surprise you to know that some of the earliest slot machines offered tobacco products as a reward. In 1891, Sittman and Pitt introduced a gambling machine that would become the forerunner of modern slots. At that time, gambling was an illegal endeavor. Money could not be paid out to winning players. The solution was to give players a free drink or a free cigar when they won. Other slot machines of this nature followed suit, some of them rewarding players with entire packs of cigarettes.
It seems that we are seeing some similarities where vaping is concerned. While Diamond Vapor doesn’t pay out a new mod or a bottle of e-liquid (aside from those free prizes we mentioned), it does reflect a unique way to market vaping. The same can be said for the Vape Master video game. The difference here is that enticing people to vape isn’t the primary goal behind Diamond Vapor. This is very different from the goals of Big Tobacco during its furious marketing campaigns of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. The purpose there was to portray smoking as cool and attractive with the idea of getting more people to smoke.
In this case, the idea is to use the popularity of vaping to get people to play video games and slot machines. Why is this important? Because at some point down the road vaping is going to come under fire from the same entities that ultimately forced the cessation of major marketing for cigarettes. You can expect the argument to be made, in the case of Vape Master and Diamond Vapor, that vaping wasn’t really being marketed at all. Already, the FDA and other organizations are contending that the vaping industry targets young people. This is happening despite the fact that recent studies have shown both vaping and smoking rates among young people are declining.
Big Tobacco used the popularity of other things—attractive women, fancy cars, slot machines—to sell cigarettes. Now, vaping is being used to market other products. We’re not sure exactly what this says about the vaping industry or the way society’s response to marketing campaigns has changed, but we do know it speaks to the overall enthusiasm for vaping and vaping culture.
— MarloesCoenen (@MarloesCoenen) March 3, 2017
The obvious question here is what comes next? In her recent MMA fight with Julia Budd for the inaugural Bellator Women’s Featherweight Championship, Marloes Coenen walked to the octagon in garments adorned with the VaporFi logo. This is an athlete we’re taking about. Can anyone envision Muhammad Ali wearing trunks emblazoned with Marlboro during his career? Never. Things like this, and the creation of Diamond Vapor, reflect a strong demarcation between how Big Tobacco and the vaping industry are viewed by society.