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A Review of Cigarette Marketing in Canada - Premiere Edition - Autumn 1998

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Winfield billboard

 

Last fall, the Rothmans-Williams-Renault racing team announced that it would become the Winfield team. Some might have been forgiven for thinking this would curb the ability of its racing hero, Jacques Villeneuve, to recruit young Canadians to smoking.

After all, unlike Rothmans cigarettes, Winfield cigarettes aren't distributed in Canada.

That is, Winfield cigarettes weren't distributed in Canada. But once Jacques Villeneuve started to race for Winfield, Winfields were raced to the market.

Here was a marketing opportunity that Rothmans, Benson & Hedges (RBH) wouldn't let go to waste. RBH is the Canadian branch of the company which makes both Winfield and Rothmans brands internationally. RBH launched Winfields in Quebec during the Montreal Grand Prix.

In the weeks leading up to the race, RBH shipped almost 7 million Winfield cigarettes into Quebec (mostly Montreal).

Month Winfield KS Winfield
Light KS
April 240,000 160,000
May 4,047,000 2,832,000
June 1,057,000 725,000

RBH also shipped an unreported number of billboards, retail ads, t-shirts, lighters, pennants and other promotional gizmos.

Direct cigarette advertising is restricted in Canada. But there are no restrictions on sponsorship promotion of cigarettes. (See PSC's main site for information on current tobacco laws)

Was this a one-month wonder?   Is Winfield here to stay?
RBH isn't saying....

Winfield packaging

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