Imperial Tobacco has called a global pitch for its Golden Virginia and Drum advertising accounts in order to consolidate its hand-rolling tobacco business into one agency.
Imperial Tobacco’s UK incumbent agency, Mustoes, has been asked to pitch for the global business against two undisclosed European agencies.
Drum is the world’s largest rolling tobacco brand, while Golden Virginia is the leading UK brand with about 50 per cent market share. The company can no longer advertise either brand in the UK since the ban on advertising tobacco products. Even so, the brief includes work on repositioning and strategic direction for the brands in the UK.
The global account includes regions where tobacco advertising is still allowed. Drum is the leading global brand. The brief asks agencies to help Golden Virginia break into new global markets.
Marketing manager for tobacco products and papers Terry Rogers says: “Golden Virginia is still in its infancy outside the UK, so we will be looking to enter various markets.”
An Imperial Tobacco insider says that Mustoes is a favourite to win the pitch given its history with the brand. The agency snatched the then &£2.5m account from Lowe Howard-Spink in 1998 (MW December 3, 1998). Mustoes also works on Imperial’s Drum tobacco, as well as Lambert & Butler and Richmond cigarettes.