Premier was a smokeless cigarette released in the United States in 1988 by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. It worked by heating and aerosolizing tobacco flavour and was intended to reduce or eliminate the unhealthy side effects associated with smoking, both to the smoker and to the people around the smoker. citation needed

The project took several years to develop at a cost of more than $325 million. citation needed

While RJR itself questioned whether the device functioned adequately as a nicotine delivery device, activists derided it for its potential for use in delivery of other drugs. citation needed It never achieved popularity, as smokers complained about a charcoal like aftertaste, and although it looked like a conventional cigarette, special instructions were required to teach smokers how to light it. RJR estimated that it would take two or three packs for a smoker to acquire a taste for Premier, but in practice many smokers only smoked one cigarette and shared the rest of the pack. It was withdrawn from the market in 1989, less than a year after its introduction.

R.J. Reynolds reintroduced the concept behind the Premier cigarette as the Eclipse brand in the 1990s.

References edit

Virginia slims – wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Virginia Slims were introduced on July 22, 1968, by Philip Morris, and marketed as a female oriented spinoff to their Benson and Hedges brand. The blends, flavorings, color scheme, and overall marketing concepts closely followed the Benson and Hedges model. Early packs (1968 1978) read “Benson and Hedges Park Avenue New York”, near the bottom.

The first test market was San Francisco, California. Originally scheduled for six months, it was cut short after seven weeks due to the success of the introduction a nearly 3% market penetration. Distribution and marketing was implemented nationwide, and by September 30, 1968, the entire U.S. was covered. 3

  • In 1976, a 120 mm full flavor packing was test marketed in Fresno, California. Designed to compete with RJ Reynolds ‘More’ brand, the test ultimately failed and this entry was withdrawn.
  • In 1978, Virginia Slims Lights were introduced, with good success. Although early marketing concepts included soft pack, Philip Morris decided to use a box pack design only.

Throughout the 70s and early 80s, growth and market penetration was significant, drawing the attention of competitors who introduced their own slim, female oriented brands (such as American Tobacco Company’s Misty, Brown and Williamson’s Capri, Liggett’s Eve, and R.J Reynolds’ Dawn).

  • In 1984, Virginia Slims Ovals were test marketed, but were unsuccessful and withdrawn. Ovals were light, and had an oval shaped cross section.
  • In 1985, Virginia Slims Luxury Light 120s were introduced a 120 mm length packing again intended to better compete with RJ Reynolds ‘More’ brand, as well as other 120s on the market. The introduction was successful. This packing has since become a mainstay of the smoking glamour community. It is arguable as to whether VS120s are truly ‘light’, since their rating numbers compare more closely to full flavor.
  • In 1987, Ultra Light 100s were introduced, in keeping with changing consumer tastes, other competitive entries, and the Benson and Hedges model. Marginally successful, this packing remains on the market today.
  • In 1989, Ultra Light SuperSlim 100s were introduced, in response to ultra thin (21mm circumference) competition and consumer demand for a ‘low smoke’ product entry. These were also marginally successful, and remain on the market.
  • In 1993, a 10 Pack version of Light 100s were introduced, with 10 cigarettes per pack, costing approximately half the price of a 20 pack. This entry had limited success and came under attack from critics. It was ultimately withdrawn.
  • In 1994, Virginia Slims Kings (85mm length) were designed as a discount entry and possibly to compete with other king size entries such as RJ Reynolds’ Camel brand. It is not clear whether Kings were ever test marketed, but they were never introduced on a nationwide basis.
  • In 2003, a box pack was introduced for full flavor 100s, in response to consumer demand. This packing is steadily displacing the classic soft pack.
  • In 2004, Ultra Light 120s were introduced with marginal success. It is likely that this packing will continue to be supported.
  • In 2008, Virginia Slims Superslims introduced a smaller size “Purse Pack.”

All packings were simultaneously introduced in both Menthol and Non menthol (e.g., Regular or Filter) varieties. Unlike most other brands, Menthol represents 40% 55% of the total sales of a particular packing (vs. 25% 35%).

In all, there have been 11 packings introduced or test marketed in the US, of which 7 are still on the market. There are other varieties marketed in the Asian Pacific region (including the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam), Russia, and South Africa. Virginia Slims has never had a significant European or South American presence.

Marketing edit

From inception, Virginia Slims have been designed and marketed as a female oriented fashion brand, generally targeted towards a younger demographic (18 35 year olds). While various themes have emerged in the marketing campaigns over the years, the basic threads have been independence, liberation, slimness, attractiveness, glamour, style, taste, and a contrast to men’s cigarettes. 4

In the 1960s and 1970s, the themes of feminism and women’s liberation, with the slogan “You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby” were often used in the ads, and often featured anecdotes about women in the early 20th century who were punished for being caught smoking, usually by their husbands or other men, as compared to the time of the ads when more women had equal rights, usually comparing smoking to things like the right to vote. 5 6

Television and print ads often featured well known models and designer fashions. Print ads were generally placed in women’s magazines, and formed the mainstay of the marketing campaign, supplemented with billboards and point of purchase displays. From 1969 until 1971 (when cigarette advertising on television became prohibited), television advertising was an important component the commercials would begin with actors dressed in period costumes re enacting the early 20th century anecdotes in comedic fashion, followed by a glamorous modern day model, smoking the product while proudly dressed in the latest fashions, accompanied by “You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby”, which in the commercials was an up tempo, catchy pop rock jingle

You’ve come a long way, baby To get where you’ve got to today You’ve got your own cigarette now, baby You’ve come a long, long way

Virginia Slims also sponsored the Women’s Tennis Association Tour. This sponsorship is sometimes credited for the growth and success of women’s tennis during the 1970s and early 1980s.

Several other, less important, marketing vehicles were employed, such as the Virginia Slims Book of Days (a day timer/calendar book), fashion shows, and an extensive line of products, apparel, and accessories.

The Leo Burnett advertising agency handled the Virginia Slims account throughout most of the product lifetime.

Market share edit

From its inception until 1978, Virginia Slims saw a steady increase in market share to 1.75% (3.9% of all female smokers). With the introduction of Lights in 1978, the market share increased to 2.5%. Other packings, including 120s, Ultra Lights, and Superslims helped push the market share to a peak of 3.1% (nearly 7% of female smokers) in 1989. With increased competition from other brands, notably Capri and Misty, the brand lost ground but stabilized at around 2.4% though 2003. Since then, it has lost about .1% per year, and was 2.0% in 2007 and 1.8% in 2009. This slow but steady decline is expected to continue, since the brand is no longer heavily promoted. Despite this, brand loyalty is well above average, and is still one of the highest in the industry.

USA Varieties edit

Virginia Slims are 23mm in circumference and are not available in king size (85mm).

  • Virginia Slims 100’s Soft and Box
  • Virginia Slims Gold Pack (Lights) 100’s Box
  • Virginia Slims Gold Pack (Lights) 120’s Box
  • Virginia Slims Silver Pack (Ultra Lights) 100’s Box
  • Virginia Slims Silver Pack (Ultra Lights) 120’s Box
  • Virginia Slims Menthol 100’s Soft and Box
  • Virginia Slims Menthol Gold Pack (Lights) 100’s Box
  • Virginia Slims Menthol Gold Pack (Lights) 120’s Box
  • Virginia Slims Menthol Silver Pack (Ultra Lights) 100’s Box
  • Virginia Slims Menthol Silver Pack (Ultra Lights) 120’s Box

Superslims edit

Superslims are 21mm in circumference and half the diameter of regular Virginia Slims. They are also known as “purse packs.”

  • Virginia Slims Superslims Box
  • Virginia Slims Superslims Gold Pack (Lights) Box
  • Virginia Slims Superslims Menthol Box
  • Virginia Slims Superslims Menthol Gold Pack (Lights) Box

References edit