Gallaher to handle UK West cigarettes launch

German cigarette giant Reemtsma is launching its premium brand West in the UK in July.

Cigarette manufacturer Gallaher, whose brands include Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut, is to distribute the West brand in the UK.

The launch was first reported in Marketing Week (May 27 1997), but at the time sources expected Reemtsma UK subsidiary Park Lane Tobacco to handle the brand.

West and West Lights will be manufactured by Reemtsma in Germany and sold in the UK priced at &£3.36 for 20 cigarettes from July 20.

Gallaher sales and marketing director Nigel Northridge says: “With strong marketing support from Reemtsma and Gallaher’s distribution base, we expect the brand to develop a worthwhile position in the UK.”

The launch will be supported by a consumer advertising print and poster campaign created by Reemtsma’s agency Scholz & Friends, with media bought through CDP.

Hamburg-based Reemtsma has already invested millions of pounds in marketing the West brand through its sponsorship of the McLaren Formula 1 team, now in its third year.

West’s introduction to the UK comes two years later than expected and takes place before the tobacco advertising ban enters into force, which is likely to be at the end of this year.

A spokeswoman for Reetsma says: “After West McLaren Mercedes won the world championship last season, the brand reached high awareness and sympathy in the UK and the time is ready to introduce West to British consumers.”

She denies that there were any plans to launch in the UK earlier. West cigarettes are available in more than 50 countries.

Gallaher has a joint manufacturing venture in Kazakstan with Reemtsma, and also handles sales and distribution of some of the German manufacturer’s brands in France.

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