Excerpts from Kent Review
Prepared by Kent Brand Group
December 7, 1981
As a result of long range strategic planning decisions and legal considerations, Kent III for the most part has been eliminated from Brown & Williamson International Tobacco's future marketing plans. The only exception is Belgium where, due to short term tactical requirements, Kent III was launched in November 1981 to position a Kent line extension in the ultra low category prior to government League Tables and required printing of numbers on packaging scheduled for January 1982. To understand how the decision to terminate general development of Kent III evolved, it is helpful to review Kent III's brief history in the U.S. market.
Kent III U.S. Domestic History
Faced with continued declines for Kent and recognizing softening of performance for Kent Golden Lights, impacted by growth in the ultra low category, Lorillard launched Kent III nationally in January 1979. An 85 mm and 99 mm version were introduced at 3.0 mg. 'tar', 0.4 mg. nicotine and 5.0 mg. 'tar', 0.6 mg. nicotine, respectively. Using state of the art technology for Kent III, Lorillard was able to offer overtly concerned smokers an ultra low delivery cigarette with superior smoking characteristics to existing brands at the 1.0 mg. 'tar' level. Using hindsight relative to experience with Kent Golden Lights, Kent III was launched using an advertising platform of taste reassurance with ultra low deliveries. The mid-range positioning for Kent III resulted in the brand achieving a 0.9% share of market and 17% share of category in its first year.
Kent III's share of total market grew to 1.2% in 1980. Share trend data suggest that some of the brand's growth was cannibalized from Kent and Kent Golden Lights. While most recent twelve month data indicates the brand's share has stabilized at 1.2%, most recent three month moving average of 1.03% suggests that a slight decline has taken hold. The 1981 year to date share of category has declined to 15.3% from 17% in 1979.
While it is difficult to draw hard conclusions at this time, it is judged that the introduction of 1.0 mg. 'tar' brands such as Barclay with superior technology and smoking characteristics combined with growing consumer rationalization favoring 1.0 mg. cigarettes, Kent III's position appears to have been pre-empted.