Unlike the unfiltered Player's Navy Cut sold in flatter European-style "princess" packs in specialty stores, the new filtered version uses more normal packaging and comes in both a regular and light version.
Limited advertising from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, features a picture of a sailor and two sailing ships.
"It's hard to see why they need it. They've got macho [covered] in Marlboro," said Gary Black, a tobacco industry analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., New York, referring to the apparent positioning of the new cigarette. But Philip Morris has little to lose in seeing what it can do for Player's, he said.
Mr. Black suggested the move might be most significant as another signal that the major tobacco marketers are showing a willingness to try new approaches. He said Philip Morris may be nearing a national rollout of the Marlboro Ultralights it has been testing in Indiana, as well as the introduction of a new menthol brand.
Philip Morris currently has no menthol-only brand, though it offers menthol extensions of its major brands.
The menthol segment has been growing, and in 1995 one of the growth brands was Lorillard's Newport.
Among other test products, RJR reintroduced Red Kamel in February and March in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas and New York (AA, Feb. 15).
Advertising from Gyro, Philadelphia, uses a nostalgia pitch featuring old pictures, a storyline about the person pictured smoking the brand, and the theme line "Back for no good reason except they taste good."