Gallaher to put £2.5 million behind hand-rolling tobacco campaign

LONDON - Gallaher is responding to the burgeoning illicit cross-channel trade in bootleg tobacco products by putting advertising support behind Amber Leaf, its relaunched hand-rolling tobacco brand.

M&C Saatchi has been appointed without a pitch to handle the creative assignment on the brand which is expected to be underpinned with a budget of £2.5 million over the next year.

It marks the first major initiative by Gallaher in the hand-rolling tobacco sector since the campaign for Old Holborn through J. Walter Thompson in the early 90s.

The appointment extends M&C Saatchi's relationship with Gallaher--one of the first clients to switch to the agency when it set up in 1995--and for which it already handles the Silk Cut and Sovereign cigarette brands and the company's sponsorship of Formula One motor racing. Media buying is by the CDP Media Company.

Advertising breaking next week in national and colour press makes extensive use of white space together with the Amber Leaf pack and the line: "The only thing worth putting on paper". The ad was written by Matt Follows and art directed by Chris Groom.

The new push behind Amber Leaf is partly an attempt to ward off the threat to the hand-rolled tobacco sector in the UK from cheap bootleg imports smuggled in from Holland and Belgium.

At the same time, the black market trade has increased the numbers of "roll-your-own" converts and opened up opportunities to build the brand, particularly among cost-conscious younger smokers.

Moray MacLennan, M&C Saatchi's joint chief executive, said: "It's good to move with an existing client into a totally new sector."

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