Brown & Williamson Keeps It Kool With New Packaging

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Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. is using two databases -- one of customers and the other of non-customers -- for a direct mail campaign promoting new packaging for its Kool menthol cigarette.


The new packaging for Kool, which will be on items for sale next month, aims to be bolder and features a new tagline: "We Built The House of Menthol."


Brown & Williamson, Louisville, KY, is the nation's third-largest manufacturer and marketer of tobacco products. In addition to Kool, its domestic cigarette brands include Filtered Pall Mall, Misty, Lucky Strike, Capri, Carlton and Viceroy.


To support the new look, B&W sent 2 million postcards last month to Kool smokers taken from an in-house database. The names were acquired through various methods over many years.


The cover of the postcard mailer featured the new Kool logo on a green background and the words "It's Time." A recipient who opened the mailing saw an image of the new Kool packaging as well as the words "For the V.I.P. Treatment." The card also said the recipient was one of the "first to know that Kool is getting a new look." It goes on to say, "Coming very soon, new Kool packs will be at retailers everywhere. Just remember, we may be changing our style, but we haven't changed our smoke. So, keep enjoying the great taste of Kool."


A pamphlet also sent last month supported the postcard. A pop-up representation of the new packaging appeared when the pamphlet was opened. Beside the pop-up are the words "Look at Kool Now." The piece also included a panel that looks like a digital clock. When the mail piece is opened, the window changes and shows the date "06/02," which is when boxes with new packaging will hit stores.


The piece also read "Time to Step into the House, @stores everywhere" and included a coupon for a free pack of Kool cigarettes.


"By driving trial among existing ... adult smokers and increasing conversion, we can reach our goal of making Kool the fastest-growing menthol brand in the country," said Ludo Cremers, B&W's divisional vice president of marketing.


Another 500,000 postcards went to smokers of menthol cigarettes other than Kool. The names for these mailings were pulled from another in-house database of competitive menthol smokers.


The cover of the postcard showed the Kool logo and the words "It's Coming." When the postcard opened, the recipient could see the words "Look at Kool Now," and the window showed the date "06/02." The mailing also included the phrase "Time to Step Into the House." These recipients also received the same follow-up mailing as the Kool smokers.


Ads promoting the redesign will appear in magazines and newspapers later this month, and point of sale promotions and event sponsorships will support the new look throughout the year. Bates USA designed the "We Built The House of Menthol" ad campaign.


"The new packaging is really focusing on the multicultural strengths that Kool already has in terms of the consumer, and we are conducting programs and advertising that attracts the younger adult smokers," said Stephen M. Kottak, a B&W spokesman.


B&W tested the new packaging in Hawaii, the best Kool market worldwide.


"Kool has 17 percent total market share in Hawaii, and that's not just in terms of menthol brands, but the total market," Kottak said. "It also has very loyal consumers, so by testing the new packaging there, we can determine what Kool customers think of the new packaging and find out if we are alienating any existing Kool customers."


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