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
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.