B&H set to target younger smokers

A new cigarette brand, advertised and packaged to catch the eye of younger smokers, is set to cause uproar among anti-tobacco lobbyists.

A new cigarette brand, advertised and packaged to catch the eye of

younger smokers, is set to cause uproar among anti-tobacco

lobbyists.



They are already criticising the launch campaign breaking at the weekend

for Gallaher’s B&H Mellow Blend, whose brightly coloured pack and

surreal advertising is designed to appeal to consumers in their twenties

and thirties.



M&C Saatchi has been working secretly with Gallaher for almost a year on

development of the product, which is intended to carve out a niche among

smokers with no loyalty to a particular brand.



But the launch of the brand in the national and style press - backed by

a reported pounds 4 million budget - has been condemned by Action on

Smoking and Health, which believes it may well prove a hit with

under-age smokers.



’This sounds just the kind of brand that children in their early teens

will want to buy so that they can show off to their friends,’ an ASH

spokesman said. ’It’s very worrying but I suspect we’re going to see a

lot more of this kind of thing.’



ASH also fears that dropping the full Benson & Hedges name in favour of

the B&H initials will make it easier for Gallaher to extend the brand

into other product areas.



The launch comes amid a period of intense activity by tobacco

manufacturers to consolidate their positions in advance of the upcoming

Europe-wide ad ban.



’The cigarette market has been quite traditional when it comes to

packaging and design,’ an industry source said. ’B&H Mellow Blend won’t

compete against a particular brand but will aim at the large number of

consumers who don’t feel affinity to a brand.’



The ads feature everyday objects but only a small shot of the pack,

which appears as part of the colour code with the line: ’Yellow out of

register.’ It is the first B&H branded launch not to be produced by CDP,

although the CDP Media Company will handle media buying.



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