Philip Morris International (PMI) is to completely revamp Marlboro, the world’s best-selling cigarette, starting next week (February 2).
Five key packs within the Marlboro range – Red, Ice Blast, Gold Orginal (formerly Gold), Menthol and Silver Blue (originally Silver) – get a competely new look, with the famous “chevron” design retained but the black lettering swapped for a “soft touch” varnished finish, giving, according to PMI managing director Martin Inkster, “a cleaner, more contemporary design”. The filters have been upgraded to a heavier paper weight, which, says Inkster, does not affect the taste of the cigarette but which allows the cigarette to be extinguished more cleanly. Silver Blue also has “ash control” – it allows for a slightly slower burn with less ash – although the taste and formulation of the tobacco is unaffected.
Barcodes, prices and margins remain unchanged, and revamps of Marlboro RYO and Gold Touch will follow later this year.
PMI marketing manager James Robinson said that a major wholesale programme was planned with leading wholesaers including Booker, Bestway, Landmark and Dhamecha, and around 250 special in-depot trade days nationwide. There would also be a retailer engagement programme in the eight weeks leading to the display ban, coupled with special outers and PoS to communicate the changes in C amp;C tobacco rooms; as well as hostess activity (beginning February 13) in 11 cities, and a presence at London Fashion Week.
Marlboro is the UK’s best-selling premium tobacco brand, with an RSV of more than £900m and accounting for almost one in three of all premium cigarette sales [Nielsen November 2014].