Excerpts from Newport Lights Performance Review, 1999
NPOP Test Results
> Overall Current Newport Lights Kings is rated at parity vs its three major full priced competitors. Lorillard smokers significantly prefer current Newport Lights to all competitors, but PM, RJR, and B+W smokers also prefer their lights brands to competitors as well.
> Despite overall parity with competitors, current Newport Lights does not score as well on menthol taste; more specifically the menthol taste is rated as too mild and tobacco taste as somewhat too strong. These menthol ratings seem to validate the Leveragability Study findings that low tar smokers perceive Newport Lights menthol flavor to be too light or somewhat artificial.
> Among all smokers, the Newport King prototype is significantly preferred to all tested brands including current Newport Lights (directionally preferred to Marlboro). Newport Lights 100 prototype scored equally as well.
> Newport prototype scores significantly better than current Newport on strength of menthol and tobacco taste, refreshment, and smoothness.
> Lorillard smokers prefer current Newport to the prototype, but Newport prototype is also preferred or at parity to all competitive brands. This suggests that if the Newport prototype replaced the current product, Lorillard smokers would have no reason to switch to competitors since they do not prefer competitive brands to Newport prototype.
> PM smokers rate Newport prototype at parity with Marlboro but significantly prefer Marlboro to current Newport. Marlboro smokers are more likely to accept the Newport prototype than current Newport.
> RJR smokers prefer Newport prototype to all tested brands. This may be Newport prototype's best source of business. Current Newport does not have the same appeal. Note: Salem Lights Slide Box was not tested.
> B+W smokers rate Kool Milds, Newport prototype, and current Newport at parity.
> RJR and B+W smokers prefer Newport prototype to all competitive brands (not their own brand). If they are inclined to switch, then Newport prototype would most likely be their preferred choice.
> Newport prototype appears better suited than current Newport in appealing to competitive smokers, which could enhance Newport Lights growth potential. Although Newport smokers appear to be very satisfied with the current Newport Lights product, their high rating of Newport prototype suggests they would not switch if prototype replaced current Newport Lights. Newport prototype should be blind taste tested among a large enough current Newport Lights smokers base to validate or reject this hypothesis. A NPOP test is scheduled on the new Salem Slide Box product to determine smoker ratings.
Consider aggressive use of Newport factory applied savings or buydowns at competitive values as a tactic to defend against competitive promotions and drive trial and consumption.
Evaluate the feasibility of improving Newport Lights taste appeal by testing the Newport Lights prototype among current Newport smokers to evaluate the risk among the current smoker base vs the appeal to competitive low tar smokers.
Reposition Newport Lights to appeal to a broader spectrum of low tar menthol smokers and redefine the brands creative strategy and copy to support the brand's repositioning.
As part of the brand's repositioning re-evaluate Newport Lights packaging.
Explore the potential of developing a Milds or Ultra Light line extension to further expand Newport's competitiveness in the low tar menthol category.