Ci­garette maker Philip Morris rais­ing pro­file in Ja­maica

Jamaica Gleaner - - BUSINESS - Neville.gra­ham@glean­erjm.com

PHILIP MORRIS In­ter­na­tional is gun­ning for a big­ger share of the Ja­maican ci­garette mar­ket.

The world’s largest to­bacco com­pany has al­ready put down deeper roots in Ja­maica, hav­ing reg­is­tered a lo­cal sub­sidiary Philip Morris In­ter­na­tional (Ja­maica) Limited ear­lier this year, with of­fices at 109 Mar­cus Garvey Drive, ef­fec­tively shar­ing premises with dis­tri­bu­tion part­ner Mus­son Ja­maica.

Their prod­uct to this point was mainly dis­trib­uted to the tourist mar­ket by Mus­son. Now PMI Ja­maica wants to broaden its client base by com­ing into the mar­ket with a full-bore mar­ket­ing cam­paign that has seen the ci­garette trader build­ing re­la­tion­ships and up­ping vis­i­bil­ity of the Amer­i­can-made brands.

“We’re act­ing like a big brand in Ja­maica, like any other na­tional or global brand. We are here to sup­port you; we’re here to sup­port vis­i­bil­ity,” said Com­mer­cial Ex­ec­u­tive of PMI Ja­maica Kevin Bourke at an event to plug Marl­boro 2.5 cig­a­rettes.

STRATE­GIC AT­TACK

Since 2014, the com­pany has been strate­gis­ing to at­tack the lo­cal mar­ket, which is cur­rently dom­i­nated by brands sold by Bri­tish Amer­ica To­bacco Plc, the UK-based par­ent com­pany for Car­reras Limited. It in­cluded work done to en­sure ci­garette pack­ages con­form to lo­cal reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments, and study­ing the Ja­maican con­sumer to de­ter­mine how to sat­isfy them, which Bourke said, led to al­ter­ing the flavour pro­file of PMI’s brands.

“We’ve come in and we’ve tooled our prod­uct to the taste pro­file of the Ja­maican con­sumer. We think we’ve come up with the right blend. Some who have tried it al­ready say, ‘Wow this is not the Marl­boro I’m used to’,” the com­mer­cial di­rec­tor said.

PMI Ja­maica is putting three brands into the trade un­der the Marl­boro 2.5 line — 2.5 refers to the length of the ci­garette at 2.5 inches. The mar­ket is al­ready see­ing Marl­boro 2.5 Red, Bold (for­merly light) and Men­thol. These are ex­pected to go head to head with the Craven A and Mat­ter­horn brands dis­trib­uted by Car­reras.

Bourke says PMI Ja­maica has en­gaged in a lot of ‘above the line’ ac­tiv­ity, in­clud­ing brand­ing at con­ve­nience stores, wall dis­plays and bill­boards at strate­gic lo­ca­tions across Ja­maica.

“We have sixteen bill­boards, na­tion­ally. We have nine in the Kingston metropoli­tan re­gion, two in Span­ish Town, two in Mon­tego Bay, two in Ocho Rios,” Bourke said. In­dus­try es­ti­mates put the cost of a bill­board at $1 mil­lion to $1.5 mil­lion.

PMI is also of­fer­ing trade deals. Re­tail­ers present at the launch of Marl­boro 2.5 got a 20 per cent dis­count on bulk pur­chases. In ad­di­tion, the car­ton of Marl­boro that nor­mally sells for $7,580 was being re­tailed at $6,840.

We’re act­ing like a big brand in Ja­maica, like any other na­tional or global brand.

PHOTO BY DARIEN ROBERT­SON

Kevin Bourke, com­mer­cial ex­ec­u­tive of Philip Morris In­ter­na­tional Ja­maica, at the launch of the Marl­boro 2.5 line of cig­a­rettes on Thurs­day, November 24.

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