Rothmans brand faces relaunch

Rothmans is being forced to relaunch its Royals brand as a 20-pack alongside its existing Royals 24s after admitting not all smokers understand the current brand proposition.

A spokeswoman says: “The proposition of ‘24 for the price of 20’ has not been understood by everyone, and we want to appeal to a wider group by offering a wider choice.”

She says the existing Royals 24s and 12s will continue to be sold.

Mid-market brand Royals is very much price-driven. It was launched in packs of 25s until they were cut by one cigarette, or “stick”, in early 1996.

One source says: “Rothmans will do better financially with 20s. It can’t increase the price to make money so it has to look at stick configurations to keep the price low.”

Next week’s launch is expected to be backed by two bursts of advertising in early August and early September through Walsh Trott Chick Smith, the Rothmans roster agency for Royals. According to Register-MEAL, which does not include poster spend, 1.3m was spent on the brand last year.

Sources say Royals 20s will be sold at the pre-Budget price of 2.75, in contrast to Royals 24s which currently sell for 3.09. In the price-sensitive cigarette market, brands retailing under the psychological price barrier of 3 have an immediate selling point.

Rothmans, which distributes Marlboro in the UK, has launched a national consumer promotion for the brand called Get The Gear this month, where smokers can get lighters, wallets and T-shirts in exchange for proofs of purchase.

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