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Kent Golden Lights

Excerpts from Kent Review
Prepared by Kent Brand Group
December 7, 1981

Kent Golden Lights International History

Prior to the assets purchase agreement in 1977, international activity for Kent Golden Lights was limited to unsupported distribution in select international duty free markets, U, S. Military Overseas and a handful of duty paid markets where trademark registration sales were undertaken. Kent Special Mild had been introduced in 1975 in select licensee/ contract markets of Western Europe and Scandinavia to position a low delivery line extension of Kent in markets indicating heightened awareness for smoker concern and proliferation of brand entries in the single digit segment.

Once Brown & Williamson International Tobacco took over management of Kent Golden Lights, international brand strategies were formulated and action plans developed to aggressively market the brand in known smoker concern markets and pre-position the brand in emerging concern markets. Other than minor refinements and expansion of select strategies, international marketing strategy for Kent Golden Lights has remained unchanged since initial development. Creative development and copy strategy has focused on emphasizing that Kent Golden Lights is, "The low 'tar' and nicotine cigarette for people who want smoking enjoyment, taste and satisfaction".

Kent Golden Lights is currently distributed in 112 duty paid and duty free markets worldwide. Major areas of concentration have been International Duty Free, the smoker concerned markets of Western Europe and emerging concern markets in the Middle East, Efforts to establish Kent Golden Lights as the low delivery line extension of Kent in Latin America markets and Far East markets has also been undertaken.

Kent Golden Lights has been supported through its introductory and expansion period by advertising and merchandising activities aimed at building awareness for the brand as a low delivery line extension of Kent to establish a foothold in markets with developed low delivery segments and leading where possible in development of this segment in emerging concern markets. Introductory advertising using the "Promise" campaign has focused on communicating the basic product benefits of less 'tar' and nicotine with satisfying taste and establishing awareness for brand name and pack graphics.

Recognizing the broad variations in development of smoker concern and understanding of specific 'tar' and nicotine deliveries worldwide, it was decided that positioning objectives for introductory communications would not show deliveries or draw direct comparison with competitive brands. The proliferation of competitive low delivery brand entries worldwide, progression of smoker concern and increased knowledge of 'tar' and nicotine deliveries in some markets prompted the decision in 1980 to develop an extension campaign which emphasized Kent Golden Lights's deliveries and product benefits of "Less Tar, Less Nicotine. Real Taste." In an effort to cut through competitive clutter and take aggressive action to establish a leading position in development of a low delivery segment in emerging concern markets, a comparative ad campaign was developed for tactical use where legally permissable and appropriate. In summary, the approach to achieving desired positioning for Kent Golden Lights through its introductory period has been one of communicating basic product benefits, using terminology and visuals believed to be appropriate for the determined level of market development.

Other key action taken over the past four years focuses on a change to gold as the dominant pack color in early 1981, following Lorillard's change to gold in the U.S. and reduction of deliveries for the 99 mm version to 9.0 mg. 'tar' and 0.8 mg, nicotine. Brown & Williamson International Tobacco elected not to follow Lorillard in removing "Kent" from the brand name for legal considerations and the strong belief that the Kent name is an essential element required to establish a quality image and appropriate product attributes for Kent Golden Lights.

Brown & Williamson International Tobacco's marketing activity for Kent Golden Lights has resulted in varying degrees of success over the first four year period, brand volume and share have been progressive. Volume grew to over 747 million units in 1980 with share of total U.S. international volume growing from 0.10% in 1977 to 0.33% in 1980. While trends for Kent Golden Lights have been progressive, the anticipated rate of growth has not been achieved. For the most part, Kent Golden Lights has successfully established a competitive foothold in markets where Kent is strong and has taken an aggressive lead in several emerging smoker concern markets. The major prohibiting factor toward achieving desired volume levels seems to be the slower than anticipated rate of growth for smoker concern in developing markets.

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