20m tobacco brief for Publicis

Publicis has been hired to handle an estimated 20m international campaign for the tobacco company Swedish Match.

The account is to launch the company’s Blend brand in Russia and China, while also relaunching it in its home market. Swedish Match is best known in the UK as a manufacturer of smoking-related products such as lighters and also owns the Swan brand. Its core tobacco brands Blend and Prince are not available in the UK.

The company is understood to have looked at a number of UK agencies through the Advertising Agency Register last month but handed the business to Publicis without a pitch.

The Publicis work will not be shown in the UK. Despite several years of speculation, it is not thought that Swedish Match wants to enter the UK market, which faces a tobacco ad ban within two years, and tighter restrictions on public smoking, which are to be included in a Department of Health white paper in the autumn.

The approach to Publicis followed its campaign for Coca-Cola in Russia. The ads broke earlier this year and followed what the agency describes as its “insight mining” process, which involves introducing clients to the cultural and social features of the markets they are entering.

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