Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Nationalism, Good Marketing, and cigarette Smoking

Nationalism and cigerette smoking? We'll at least it seem that Korean smokers are supporting their country. OR, is it just good marketing...

According to a recent article titled...Is Icahn Helping KT&G Sales?

Is it a taste for cigarettes or a show of patriotism? That question is being asked at KT&G, Korea’s cigarette maker, over the success of two brands that it is marketing amid a hostile attempt by U.S. corporate raider Carl Icahn to take over the company.

The latest big hit is Esse Soun; the previous brand Arirang also sold well.

Since its release to the public on April 12, the slim cigarette Soun is growing popular, with its mild and soft taste appeal.

But that doesn’t seem to be the only reason.

I used to smoke foreign cigarettes but now I smoke Korean cigarettes, especially new brands, said a Seoul resident who has smoked for 20 years. The primary reason is Icahn’s attempt to take over the Korean company.

A KT&G official also said that there was no scientific data to back up the tie between patriotism and higher sales. I feel that could be a factor, besides the fact that the products are well made and marketed.

Thanks in part to a word-of-mouth marketing strategy targeting consumers in their 30s and 40s, sales of the highly-favored cigarette have reached over 11 million packs in less than two weeks.

That is considered record sales in such a short period of time, compared with KT&G’s other brands like Lo Crux, Indigo and Entz.

Lo Crux sold about 8.4 million packs, Indigo 5.3 million and Entz 2.5 million during their first week in retail stores last year.

Esse Soun alone reached a market share of more than 9 percent within a week.

Along with six other Esse-line cigarettes, the whole Esse family captured a remarkable 38 percent of the market.

The secret behind the success?

Our new product goes really well with society's well-being movement because the cigarette’s filter is made out of bamboo charcoal instead of regular hardwood charcoal said Lee Jung-hoon, KT&G public relations manager.

Bamboo charcoal filtration greatly reduces the amount of harmful substances to health like tar and gases in the smoke of a cigarette.

Thus, experts said this agent, developed by the cigarette maker for the first time in the world, is 10 times as efficient as regular charcoal filters, making Esse Soun a lot more milder and softer.

This might be good news for smokers who wish to gradually cut down their habit of standing next to ashtrays at a time when society and government are promoting healthy lifestyles.

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