Cigarette maker Gallaher is to bring back and rebrand the venerable Dickens & Grant cigarettes as DG in a move that could incur legal action from fashion label Dolce & Gabbana.
The brand, which will be advertised at the point of purchase under taglines such as “more bling, less sting”, is a response to the recent launch of Philip Morris’s low-priced cigarette Basic.
Legal experts say the strength of DG as the logo of Dolce & Gabbana is such that Dolce & Gabbana has the legal right to claim “passing off”. One source adds: “Dolce & Gabbana is very well-known in the UK and this could lead to brand damage.”
Dickens & Grant was discontinued at the end of 2001, only two years after Gallaher acquired the brand as part of a package of products from US rival RJ Reynolds.
Industry sources say Gallaher will rebrand Dickens & Grant as DG to reinvigorate the range.
The company is understood to have considered the launch of a new brand but decided to capitalise on the remaining smokers of Dickens & Grant.
DG will be slightly cheaper than Basic, which was introduced this month to compete at the budget end of the market, selling at &£3.89 for 20 cigarettes (MW July 1).
One industry source says Gallaher also saw this as an opportunity to launch a brand prior to the ban on point-of-purchase advertising at the end of the year.
He adds: “The DG rebrand will raise interesting questions about how fashion label Dolce & Gabbana feels about a cigarette with a similar name.”