Gallaher is stepping up efforts to offset sliding tobacco sales in
Britain by drafting in M&C Saatchi to help exploit growth markets in
Europe and the Far East. It is the first time the cigarette giant has
appointed an agency as a strategic consultant across all its
The brands involved are Silk Cut, for which M&C Saatchi has produced
award-winning UK advertising, Benson & Hedges, Sovereign and Sobranie, a
luxury product restricted to specialist outlets in Britain but a big
seller in the Far East.
M&C Saatchi will be producing advertising out of London to support the
brands but Gallaher stressed the agency will work in co-operation with
its existing roster agencies - Dentsu, which handles its brands in the
Far East, and DMB&B, which runs the business in Russia.
The push into Eastern Europe has been sparked by the need to make
Gallaher compete more effectively against the US giants, Philip Morris
and RJ Reynolds, which are dominating the market. At the same time,
Gallaher is looking to stimulate sales for Sovereign in Khazakstan after
building a new factory there.
The initiative takes place against a background of a 4 per cent drop in
Gallaher’s UK cigarette sales during the first three months of this
year. The company blames ’bootlegging’ and duty increases.
M&C Saatchi’s assignment also covers Germany and France, where the brief
is to stimulate Benson & Hedges sales, and Greece, where the push will
be behind Silk Cut.
The extra work augments the agency’s existing relationship with
Gallaher, one of the first clients to choose it when it set up in
Moray MacLennan, the agency’s joint chief executive, said: ’It’s a very
interesting assignment because we’re keen to grow internationally.’