Imperial gives pounds 5m cut-price cigarette launch to Mustoes

Imperial Tobacco is launching a mass-market cigarette brand and has appointed Mustoe Merriman Herring Levy to produce a major campaign just four months before the tobacco advertising ban comes into effect.

Imperial Tobacco is launching a mass-market cigarette brand and has

appointed Mustoe Merriman Herring Levy to produce a major campaign just

four months before the tobacco advertising ban comes into effect.



The new product, which will be positioned as a cut-price brand, will be

Imperial’s first launch in 16 years. It will be backed by a heavyweight

marketing spend, believed to be around pounds 5 million, in order to

establish the brand before tobacco advertising is banned in

December.



Imperial owns the market-leading brand, Lambert & Butler, which knocked

Benson & Hedges off the number one spot last year. In the current

market, low- to mid-priced cigarettes are challenging established

brands. L&B is at the lower end of the market, typically retailing at

around pounds 3.19 for a pack of 20 cigarettes.



However, despite having increased its market share, L&B is facing

competition from Gallaher’s Mayfair brand. Mayfair, which launched in

the early 90s and retails at around pounds 2.99, has now replaced Silk

Cut as the UK’s third biggest-selling tobacco product.



Mustoe Merriman, which handles L&B and the hand-rolling tobacco brands,

Drum and Golden Virginia, pitched against the roster agencies, Lowe

Howard-Spink and Interfocus. It is understood that Interfocus will

handle direct marketing activity for the new brand.



Neither the client nor the agency would comment on the launch.



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