Gallaher is responding to the growing 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 pounds 2.5 million over the next year.
It marks the first major initiative by Gallaher in the hand-rolling
tobacco sector since its 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 -
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 the national 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.
With tobacco taxed more heavily in the UK than on mainland Europe, sales
of illegally imported products have soared.
In the region of 75 per cent of hand-rolled tobacco is brought in by
smugglers, escaping an estimated pounds 540 million on duty.
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 more 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.’