Marlboro Medium in Saudi Aravia
Marlboro Medium Name
Expectations Regarding the Brand Based on the Name
Pursuant to examining the spontaneous reactions of respondents to the name "Marlboro Medium", their expectations of such a cigarette were investigated, initially spontaneously and subsequently upon prompting if not mentioned spontaneously.
Results are as follows:
i) Strength of Flavor;
Strength of flavor was perceived to be in between, not strong nor light. Furthermore, the percentage of tar and nicotine was estimated to be in the middle. (8- .10)
"I expect it to have low levels of tar and nicotine, balanced taste" (National Riyadh – Marlboro Lights Smoker)
(Arab Expat Riyadh – Merit Ultra Light Smoker)
Quality of flavor/taste was expected to be the same as Marlboro Red and Marlboro Light, thus maintaining the properties perceived to be representative of Marlboro. Thus the Marlboro Medium brand would enjoy the traditional excellent flavor associated with Marlboro, and the medium name would not have any implications.
"The flavor of the Medium is expected to be excellent, because Marlboro cares to maintain its reputation and not lose it"
(National – Jeddah, Marlboro Red Smoker)
iii) Smoker type:
The person who would most likely smoke Marlboro medium was seen to be, mainly a Marlboro Red smoker who is seeking a lighter cigarette, but does not want to sacrifice taste or enjoyment by switching to a lights brand. Only a few felt that a lights smoker would be interested in smoking Marlboro Medium.
"The smoker would be somebody who is tired of Marlboro Red who wants to gradually shift to a lighter cigarette"
(National Jeddah – Marlboro Red Smoker)
iv) Competitive brands:
Interestingly, many of the respondents believe that the current Marlboro versions would be the main competition for the Medium cigarette. This is due to their perception that there is no other cigarette better than Marlboro in terms of quality, taste and flavor.
Compering brands were seen to be:
• Merit Yellow
• Kent Light
• Silk Cut
"There will be no competitive brands other than Marlboro Red and Marlboro Light because people are used to the Marlboro available in the market"
(Arab Expat Riyadh – Marlboro Red Smoker)
The price was expected atleast initially to be less than Marlboro Red and Light. However, once "Marlboro Medium" becomes well established in the market, the price would be similar (SR4). This highlights a key expectation amongst consumers where a new entrant into the market would need to start at a lower price initially and only upon establishing itself, should increase its price. This view holds even for a well known brand coming out with a different version.
"As a start, price would be cheaper than Marlboro Red and Marlboro Light"
(Arab Expat Riyadh – Marlboro Light Smoker)
vi) Positioning vis-a-vis Marlboro Red and Marlboro Light:
Popularity of the "Marlboro Medium" is expected to be initially lower than Marlboro Red and Light; however with time, and depending on the taste and flavor, it should be equally compatible and draw its own customers.
"At first, position of Marlboro Medium would be weak since it is newly launched and because it is hard to change your current brand: but once appreciated, it would have its own buyers"
(Arab Expat Riyadh – Rothmans KS Smoker)
Furthermore, respondents believed that since Marlboro Medium is a new product, it would have a new packaging design which is different from the current design. There is also a feeling that the color of the filter would be different.
It can be concluded that Marlboro Medium would retain the essential characteristics of the Marlboro name i.e. excellent quality, taste and flavor.
"Marlboro would only put a product that it is good into the market, so I expect it to be good"
(National Jeddah – Marlboro Red Smoker)
This expectation is based on the heritage of the Marlboro name in this part of the world where the brand has been in the market for a long time and has consistently enjoyed a reputation for quality.