John Player Special King Size
Japanese Qualitative Study
"John Player Special" is recommended but "JPS" is not. As some respondents who were unfamiliar with JPS read the logo as "J-S-P", the Japanese do not care whether it is JPS or JSP because such a mere cluster of letters has no meaning. Further, "J-P-S" is more difficult for a Japanese to pronounce.
"John Player Special" is not a short name for the Japanese. However, it should be remembered that each word that consists the name, "John" "Player" and "Special" are relatively familiar with the Japanese in general and there is not a great deal of difficulty in understanding it and pronouncing it.
The other factor is that "John Player Special" has a "personality" while "JPS" does not. It is natural that a consumer feels more identity to what has a personality (or a warm feeling as "Lark"). In this aspect, it would be ideal if consumers call JPS with a Japanese nickname, for example "JON-PRE (John ?Play)??.
This kind of abbreviating a word may sound awkward for native speakers of English, but it is the most natural way for Japanese. A typical example is "television". No Japanese says "TV" but "TEREBI (televi ? there is no "V" sound in Japanese)". Further, it is not impossible to lead the consumers to call JPS as "JON-PRE" through a series of advertisements.
Since the test product obtained a considerably high level of acceptance among respondent consumers, there appears to exist no serious problem areas that should be improved before the launch.
One thing to which attention should be paid, though not being a serious point, seems to be the "pungency" (or sharpness ? Japanese respondents described it as "KARAI"). As some respondents mentioned, the product seemed to be somewhat pungent in taste or in aftertaste. Thus, it is recommended that the pungency be decreased without changing the basic character of the product.
An entirely new approach should be considered for the Japanese market. Using a Japanese advertising agency would probably be the best way to create new advertising concept and approach for John Player Special Japanese version (white-based package).
The following factors should be taken into considerations:
(1) To target on young male smokers
(2) To take an "introduction" type of approach at the beginning
(3) To avoid excessive appealing of "class" and "dignity" but concentrate on a "contemporary" and "casual" image
(4) To communicate an "active" and "liberal" image