John Player Special King Size
Japanese Qualitative Study
Interest in imported cigarettes:
Occasional imported brand smoker groups
Since all the respondents in these 12 groups were so-called "occasional smokers of imported cigarettes", they all had one or more imported brands which they purchased from time to time.
All the brands that respondents mentioned as their occasional imported cigarettes were U.S. brands, including Marlboro which is manufactured in Japan under license. The majority purchased either Lark or Lark Milds.
Although the respondents did not clearly mention the reasons why they sometimes purchased imported brands or particular occasions when they smoked such brands, the following respondent comments seemed to indicate what differences they perceived in the imported brands:
"Lark has a fashionable package (which domestic ones don't).?ˆ?
"They make me feel as if I became a bit wealthy."
"They have a 'with it?ˆ™ feeling."
"I sometimes get tired of Mild Seven. They're good for a change of pace."
"I sometimes feel like smoking a richer cigarette. Marlboro is the right one to smoke on such occasions."
"When I drink at a bar or a night club (for entertaining business associates), I often buy imported brands."
In short, the major factors for which the respondents purchased imported brands (occasionally) appeared to be the "fashionable image" and "expensive price".
It should be noted, however, that respondent consumers were not looking for an entirely different product for their imported brands. Many respondents mentioned that one of the reasons they selected Lark and Lark Milds was that they had a taste which was similar to domestic products they regularly smoked.
Another important requirement for an imported brand to be popular seemed to be that it is frequently available. Many respondents mentioned that Lark and Lark Milds are often sold through vending machines.
Domestic brand smoker groups
The respondents in these two groups showed relatively negative attitudes toward imported brands. (They a represent majority of the Japanese consumers.) Low interest in purchasing imported cigarettes was perceived among these respondents mainly for the following reasons:
(1) For the most part, "they do not taste good".
(2) One who smokes an imported brand is likely to be seen as "showy" or "snobbish".