John Player Special King Size
Japanese Qualitative Study
Awareness of JPS (John Player Special) name/logo and perceived country of origin/pedigree:
On the whole, awareness of JPS (John Player Special) name and logo, especially the name, John Player Special, did not seem to be high among Japanese cigarette consumers who purchased one or more imported brands on an occasional basis. The logo appeared to be known to the consumers through various non-tobacco products such as ashtrays, etc.
Several respondents appeared to be aware of JPS's motor racing sponsorship, especially younger respondents, but they were the minority. Motor racing sponsorship was generally perceived as a positive factor for enhancing masculine image, but for the majority of the respondents, it did not seem to be so important or exciting.
Except a few persons, respondents did not appear to be certain about the country of origin of JPS (John Player Special) cigarettes. However, from the gold and black logo, most of them guessed U.K. rather than U.S.
The general image of U.K. cigarettes was said to be "relatively stronger in taste and aroma", having "traditional and refined package design" and being smoked by "middle aged and older" corporate directors, etc. On the other hand, US, cigarettes were generally perceived as having "stylish package design", "mild taste but somewhat stronger aroma", "casual image" and being smoked by liberal professionals or people in show business or entertainment business and young smokers.
Respondents were exposed to two executions of the JPS logo, one in gold and black and the other in black and white. The gold and black logo appeared to give an image of "class" and "dignity" while the black and white one tended to be perceived as being "stylish" and "casual". It should be noted, however, that the majority of the respondent consumers tended to prefer the black and white logo design.
This appears to indicate that the general trend of the Japanese cigarette consumers is in the direction of looking for a "stylish" and "casual" brand rather than a one which claims "class" or "dignity".
Regardless of the reality, respondent consumers seemed to believe that the domestic products such as Mild Seven, Seven Stars, Cabin, etc., were of the world's highest level in quality. Although this does not mean that the consumers perceived U.K. products or U.S. products as inferior in quality, the "Made in U.K." or "Made in U.S. A." claim appears to have little effect on "quality" other than image.