Female Targeted Brands - 1988
Review of Female Targeted Brands
This report is intended to provide a perspective on the historical development of the female smoker market. Specifically, it discusses the increasing importance of females and reviews the history of several female oriented cigarette brands.
In the early part of this century, cigarette smoking vas a predominantly male activity. This began to change during the 1920's when the emancipation of women was an ever present theme and smoking became one of several expressions of feminine independence.
A second important period in the development of the female market was during World War II. Again, this was a unique period for women as they found themselves immersed into family and work roles typically held by men. Smoking again was an expression consistent with the times.
By 1965, women smokers accounted for nearly 40% of all cigarettes sold. Additionally, the country was involved in a period of revolution, particularly for women fighting for equal rights. These two factors likely stimulated the barrage of new brand entries which hit the market during the next ten years.
Following is a review of several of the major successes and failures which resulted. As you will see, the successes were built upon a meaningful and timely positioning supported with products having a consistent point of difference. In all cases, the failures were either positioned in a non-meaningful manner or were "me-toos."
Sales performance graphs and examples of advertisements for each of the brands discussed are included in the attachments.
Philip Morris introduced Virginia Slims Filter and Menthol 100's into test market in July, 1968, and nationally in September, 1968. Since then, it has successfully introduced Lights Box 100's Filter and Menthol, Lights Box 120's Filter and Menthol and Ultra Lights Box 100's Filter and Menthol nationally.
Virginia Slims was positioned as the first and only cigarette designed specifically for the "independent woman of today." This idea was, and continues to be, reflected in all aspects of its marketing mix.
Its product was positioned as being tailored to female smoker wants. This was supported visually with its slimness and extra length, as well as with its milder taste delivery.
The advertising positioned the Virginia Slims smoker as a somewhat independent person. This was accomplished by contrasting today's female smoker with the "closet" smoker of the early 1900's. The advertising also reaffirmed that the product was tailored to their wants.
In more recent years, Virginia Slims has maintained its core positioning as a brand for independent female smokers, but has evolved to put itself in sync with today's younger adult female smokers. This has been accomplished with the use of younger models and the incorporation of a feeling of fun and humor.
Upon its introduction, Virginia Slims grew rapidly to over a 1.0 share of market. Since that time, it has enjoyed fairly stable growth and has over a 3.0 share today. Contributing to the brand's success was its contemporary and meaningful positioning and its unique product point of difference.
RJR introduced EMBRA into test market in August, 1969, in Denver and St. Louis. It was available in Box 100's Filter and Menthol. It was positioned as a feminine, romantic cigarette for women who were more interested in romance than the woman's movement. To support its positioning, EMBRA had several unique features: satin tipping paper, an embossed pack, a secure lid closure for the box, and see-through windows in the carton.
It soon became clear that the women smokers of the late sixties were not interested in EMBRA's romantic theme as it peaked at a .4% share of market. Although EMBRA had unique and consistent points of difference, its overall positioning was not meaningful enough to result in a successful new brand.
Eve 100's Filter and Menthol were introduced into test market on May 18, 1970, and expanded nationally on November 16, 1970. Since its introduction, Liggett & Myers has changed the brand name twice — in 1971 the name was changed to Eve Lights 100's and in 1983 to Eve Slim Lights 100's. Eve Lights 120's Filter and Menthol styles were introduced in test in August, 1980, and expanded nationally in January, 1981.
Eve has always maintained an ultra-feminine image with the flowered pack, flowered tipping paper, and the incorporation of advertising lines such as "There's a little Eve in every woman," and in later years, "Every inch a lady.
Share for the parent styles peaked at .31-.32% in 1971 and was declining until the introduction of the Slim Lights styles in 1983 when the Eve brand family peaked at .3-.4%. However, share has been flat to declining ever since. Contributing to the limited share potential is its somewhat outdated positioning and the absence of a truly unique product point of difference.
RJR introduced MORE 120's Filter and Menthol into test market in Oklahoma City in September, 1974, and nationally in June, 1975. The Lights 100's Filter and Menthol styles were introduced nationally in 1980. MORE Lights 120's Filter and Menthol were introduced into the Pacific/Mountain Sales Area in 1987.
MORE was originally conceived as a male brand targeted against Marlboro. However, it was decided that rather than introduce the brand with a masculine theme like the cowboy (i.e., riverboat gambler), the introductory advertising would focus on the brand's unique visual and product points of difference. Its brown color, longer length, more puffs, same cost, easier draw, and better flavor were all descriptors used in the early advertising.
By 1976, MORE had attained nearly a 1.0% share of market with a largely feminine franchise. By that time, it had become quite apparent that the product's visual uniqueness created the perception that its smokers were both stylish and independent. This image was very consistent with the wants of female smokers at that time, thus contributing to a franchise which was primarily female rather than male.
From 1987 through today, MORE advertising has attempted to build increasingly upon this independent and stylish image. However, recognizing recently that it was walking away from its true reason for being, a new campaign will be introduced shortly which places greater emphasis on communicating its points of difference.
MORE grew rapidly to about a .8 share of market in 1975 and maintained a steady growth until 1980. The introduction of the Lights styles in 1980 boosted its share to over 1.5 in 1982. The early success of MORE was a function of its unique product points of difference which reinforced perceptions of stylishness and independence.
RJR introduced DAWN into test market in San Francisco in May, 1975. It was available in 120's Filter and Menthol styles. In this original test market, it reached a sustaining share of .3%. The brand was expanded to Los Angeles, Denver, and Cincinnati in September, 1975, and achieved a sustaining share of .2%, DAWN was discontinued in June, 1976.
Similar to Virginia Slims, DAWN was positioned as a cigarette for independent women. Its point of difference relative to Virginia Slims was its 120mm length.
Not surprisingly, given its similarity to Virginia Slims, DAWN was perceived as a "me-too" brand whose failure may be attributed to the absence of a unique and meaningful benefit.
Satin was introduced by Lorillard in Denver and Milwaukee on June 3, 1982. The brand went national on January 31, 1983, and was available in 100's Filter and Menthol styles.
The brand was positioned towards the woman who could spoil herself and who had good taste. It had a satin tip and, for a short time, had an embossed pack which was later discontinued. Satin's share grew to about AX in 1983, but has since declined to about .1%.
As with EMBRA, Satin was built around a positioning that was not meaningful to its female target and a product that vas not substantially different from other brands.
RJR introduced RITZ into test market on February 1, 1985, in Atlanta, Oklahoma City, Spokane, and Memphis. The brand was expanded to Springfield and St. Louis on April 12, 1985. On March 21, 1986, RITZ vent national. The brand is available in Box 100's Filter and Menthol styles.
RITZ was positioned as a stylish, high fashion/glamour cigarette for female smokers. It supported this positioning through its association with designer Yves Saint Laurent in advertising, packaging, and other marketing elements.
Among its target smokers, RITZ vas perceived differently from other brands on several dimensions. The brand was positively distinguished from other brands on fashion ability and glamour/sexiness. On the negative side, RITZ was also seen as pretentious and lacking in personality/sociability. RITZ was successful in achieving high levels of awareness, trial, and overall purchase among target smokers; however, the brand could not maintain this level of appeal. RITZ share peaked at between .3%-.AX in mid-1986, but has been declining since.
It is hypothesized that while RITZ did provide a consistent communication of its proposition through all its marketing elements, it was one which was neither meaningful nor unique to the market.
In January, 1987, Brown & Williamson began test marketing Capri 100 mm in the state of Louisiana. The brand was expanded into selected areas in May, 1987, and introduced nationally in August, 1987. Capri incorporates an ultra-slim configuration and is available in Menthol and Non-Menthol Box styles.
The brand was introduced with pack-hero advertising featuring its ultra-feminine packaging and the line, "Tomorrow you'll wonder how you smoked anything else." Current advertising for Capri emphasizes the ultra-slim en configuration and features fashionable, fun-loving younger adult females, much like recent Virginia Slims advertising. 01
Share for Capri is currently .2-.3% and flat. Although Capri incorporates a £ unique product configuration, share may be limited by the similarity of its 00 positioning to that of Virginia Slims.
Two factors which have historically differentiated the successful female new brands from the failures are:
1) A contemporary, meaningful positioning.
2) True product points of difference.
Virginia Slims stood for female independence and was supported with a product uniquely tailored for women. MORE stood for stylishness and independence and was supported with a uniquely different and stylish product. In contrast, the unsuccessful brands discussed did not incorporate a meaningful positioning nor did they provide a unique/substantial product point of difference.
Opportunities for Future Female-Oriented New Brands
The large number of female-oriented new brands introduced since 1965 represents an effort by the tobacco companies to respond to the changing roles of women and the corresponding increase in female smoking incidence. Today, women continue to represent a significant and increasingly important portion of the cigarette market.
Since 1965, the importance of female smokers has continued to increase. In 1987, females represented 46% of total smokers, up from 40% in 1965. In addition, the contribution of female smokers to total volume has increased from 37% in 1965 to 43% in 1987.
Women should continue to represent a significant opportunity in the near future as the decline in smoking incidence among female smokers is significantly slower than the decline among men. Since 1965, smoking incidence among males has decreased 42%, while among female smokers the decline was 27%. Declines since 1980 are 20% among male smokers versus 15% among females. Among younger adult females, aged 18-34, declines are even slower, with only a 13% decline since 1980.