Gallaher will be the first major tobacco manufacturer to launch a new cigarette brand since last year’s ban on advertising.
The tobacco giant is introducing Silk Cut Slims into the market later this month and aims to replace the usual poster and press advertising mix, now outlawed, with material that is point-of-sale only.
Gallaher was also the last manufacturer to introduce a new cigarette brand into the British market, although the February 2003 launch of B& H Silver was backed by a marketing blitz in the week before the ad ban started.
This time, Gallaher intends to make an impact through gantry posters and eye-catching
packaging which includes an embossed Silk Cut logo in the brand’s trademark purple and a swoosh-style design.
However, tobacco buyers will watch the newcomer’s progress to see if it can grab consumers’
interest without the aid of heavyweight advertising support.
One said: “The question will be whether consumers will even notice Silk Cut Slims’ arrival.”
Booker tobacco buyer Danny Ayton said that using established brands, such as Silk Cut, would probably be the only way to launch viable new launches in future. He added: “Despite the ad ban, Gallaher will still be able to use the 100,000 or so gantries it owns to promote Slims.”
Jeremy Blackburn, trade communications manager for Gallaher, claimed the £4.74-a-pack newcomer had real growth potential despite the ban.
He said: “I can understand there may be concerns about brand launches in a dark market but we are confident Silk Cut’s already high profile will provide a halo effect on this brand extension. We can still use in store PoS to drive interest and awareness of brand activity and this is a key part of our launch strategy for Silk Cut Slims.”
Simon Mowbray