Three new print ad executions that broke last week show only the cigarettes-giving them a human-like look, reclining on a porch swing, lying back in a hammock or playing chess.
PLAYING OFF AMPERSAND
Playing off the ampersand in the brand name, two words are linked with that symbol in each ad. For example, the porch-swing ad is labeled: "Sitting & talking. Benson & Hedges."
Copy line is, "A moment of pleasure with the 100-millimeter cigarette."
Outdoor advertising will follow, from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago.
While industry insiders speculated Philip Morris was discontinuing the earlier campaign because it may have offended smokers-who were portrayed as outcasts-a company spokeswoman said that wasn't the case.
"Smokers loved that ad. They called in for posters of it," she said. "This redirection is simply giving the brand a different focus."
She said the idea was to focus more on the brand rather than just the smoker.
"We wanted to . . . have a campaign that was more proprietary in nature," she said.
The new effort clearly tries to give the brand a personality and stand out among cigarette advertising. It also emphasizes the length of the 100-millimeter smokes in a manner reminiscent of the brand's classic early TV advertising showing their "disadvantages."
Philip Morris insists its marketing redirection had nothing to do with Benson & Hedges' market performance. But market share data from analyst John C. Maxwell Jr. of Wheat First Butcher Singer, show Benson & Hedges' unit share was flat, 2.3% in 1995 and 1996.
A contributing factor may have been spending. In 1995, Philip Morris put $25 million into measured media spending for Benson & Hedges, according to Competitive Media Reporting; it fell 30% to $17.5 million in '96.