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