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A Review of Cigarette Marketing in Canada -- 2nd Edition -- Spring 1999

 

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RBH pushes against law with new packages
Canadian Classics -
LIGHT

In early 1999, Rothmans, Benson & Hedges introduced a 'light' version of Canadian Classics, first introduced in 1995.

Canadian Classics was originally launched as a sports-oriented, wilderness-party style cigarette.   Although whitewater rafting ads have given way in 1999 to bar promotions (i.e. billiards) and other urban-chic marketing vehicles, the advertising is still clearly geared towards the active young adult.

With both the 1995 launch of the original Classics, and the 1999 launch of the Classics 'light,' RBH has pushed Canadian legislation restricting packaging and marketing.

Here's how:

  • Putting "Additive-Free" and a Moose on the original package.

Section 9 (2) of the Tobacco Products Control Act (TPCA) banned the use of extraneous information on the cigarette package. Only trademarked information was allowed.

RBH maintained that by trademarking the slogan "Additive-Free" and "100% Canadian Tobacco Without Additives," the TPCA's provisions did not apply.

The TPCA was in force in April 1995 when Canadian Classics was launched, but was overturned by the Supreme Court in September that year.

1995 package launch:

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The Moose and "Additive-Free" claim couls bee seen as contrary to the TPCA's ban on extraneous information.

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  • Putting a celebrity endorsement on the 'light'   package.

The 1997 Tobacco Act bans the use of testimonials "however displayed or communicated."  (Section 21(1)).

Despite this clearly worded clause, RBH has included a testimonial from (fictitious?) master tobacco blender, Douglas Kilpatrick: "only the finest Canadian Tobacco."

RBH has not provided an explanation for why this testimonial is not in contravention of the Tobacco Act.

Click here for more Canadian Classics promotions

 

1999 package launch:

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The testimonial from master tobacco blender Douglas Kilpatrick ("Only the finest Canadian tobacco") appears to be contrary to section 21(1) of the Tobacco Act.

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By industry standards, Canadian classics has had a modest success, gaining a market share of almost 0.2% in its first 3 years.

Market share of Rothmans, Benson & Hedges leading brands


RBH Brand # of sub-brands 1998 Sales (millions) Market Share (%)

Craven A

15

2128.71

4.43

Rothmans

5

2045.09

4.26

Benson & Hedges

9

1425.82

2.97

Belevedere

6

758.02

1.58

Viscount

5

489.80

1.02

Number 7

5

440.08

0.92

Mark Ten

7

301.13

0.63

Canadian Classics

2

88.52

0.18

Other (Domestic)

410.16

0.85

Other (Imported)

12.08

0.03

RBH Total

16.69

8010.88

16.69


 

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Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada
(PSC) is a national health organization, founded in 1985 as a registered charity. We are a unique organization of Canadian physicians who share one goal: the reduction of tobacco-caused illness through reduced smoking and reduced exposure to second-hand smoke.

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