Inner Foil

Denotative Meanings

The inner foil is typically metalized paper, or a thin layer of a metal that is laminated to a paper substrate, which encases the cigarettes within the box. 1 Denotatively, the foil functions to protect against moisture, deterioration, and loss of aroma. However, as the foils are usually coloured, textured, or otherwise decorated, they also connote ideas beyond their original function – ideas that typically interact with the meanings of elements elsewhere on the pack.

The inner foil typically displays or interacts with branded textual elements (e.g. brand family name, slogans) and/or branded visual elements (e.g. colour, logo). The area of inner foil that is displayed often depends on the pack’s opening style and the shape of the inner frame card (if the pack’s opening style is a flip-top).


Overarching Theme Sub-Theme Connotative Chains
Lifestyle  Luxury / Glamour Plain aluminum foil –> Practical, bland

  • Peter Jackson Smooth:


Foil with colour and/or design –> Aesthetic embellishment, more costly production process –> Luxury

  • B&H Black:
    Gold –> Precious metal –> Luxury


  • du Maurier Red:
    Deep red –> The “good life,” “elegant, cultivated, rich and refined” 2

    DuM red foil

Foil displaying already-luxurious design elements –> Luxury

New inner foil technology –> Investment in innovation, improvement –> Luxury

  • du Maurier’s foil casing with a resealable flap:


Lifestyle  Gender  Inner foil wraps can be gendered by such features as colour, pattern, and printed imagery.

Feminine examples:

  • Vogue Lilas
    Shiny purple –> Feminine colour
    Pattern resembling droplets, tadpoles, leaves, sperm –> Nature, life, fertility –> Femininity

    Lilas foil1

  • Vogue Superslims
    Shiny undulating waves –> Water, feminine curves –> Feminine imagery

    Vogue superslims foil

Masculine examples:

  • Player’s Rich
    Text and image combination –> Comic book design (traditionally a masculine domain)


  • B&H de Luxe Sapphire
    Pinstripes –> Men’s pinstripe suit


Healthfulness  Strength  Although the majority of foils possess a metallic finish, some cigarette packs contain paper “foils.”

  • Plain or tanned coloured paper –> Natural, organic –> Healthier



  1. RJ Reynolds. High Barrier Packages for Smoking Articles and Other Products. Available at Accessed February 27, 2012.
  2. Eiseman, L. Colour: Messages and meanings, A Pantone colour resource. Gloucester, MA: Hand Books Press, 2006.