"The base of our business is the high school student"

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

"The base of our business in the high school student"

This memo dated August 1978 was sent to Curtis H. Judge, President of the Lorillard Tobacco Company, from Lorillard area sales manager Ted L. Achey. In it, Achey discusses the market success of Newports among African-American and "young adult" groups. Achey emphasizes that, "...the base of our business is the high school student."

Achey also says that Newport in the 1970s is "turning into the Marlboro of the 70's" [referring to the fact that Marlboro was the most popular brand among youth who are starting to smoke] and that Newport is "the 'IN' brand to smoke if you want to be one of the group." This passage indicates that tobacco companies value peer pressure among young smokers because it determines which brand many youth will smoke. Peer pressure of this type can greatly increase the sales of one brand of cigarettes over another. This memo appears to say that Lorillard valued this "in" status for Newport since it would boost sales of their Newport brand.


Quotes from the document:

TO: Mr. Curtis Judge

FROM: T.L. Achey - Field 3
SUBJECT: Product Information
Mr. Judge, if you will look at my sales figures (attached), you will note that NEWPORT king size is the #1 selling Lorillard Brand, and NEWPORT box the #6 selling Lorillard brand in Field 3 for the year-to-date.

I know your immediate concern must be the "Lights" market; however, I also know the efforts placed into several "taste" brands over the past few years.

The success of NEWPORT has been fantastic during the past few years. Our profile taken locally shows this brand being purchased by black people (all ages), young adults (usually college age), but the base of our business is the high school student.

NEWPORT in the 1970's is turning into the Marlboro of the 60's and 70's. It is the "In" brand to smoke if you want to be one of the group.

Our problem is the younger consumer that does not desire a menthol cigarette. If that person desires a non-menthol, but wants to be part of the "In group", he goes to Marlboro.

Could we be furnishing a back-lash to Marlboro from our NEWPORT brands?

Is Marlboro as strong with the early beginning consumers as the NEWPORT brands?

Could we end the success story for Marlboro by furnishing the young adult consumers with a total category of "In" brands?

I think the time is right to develop and NEWPORT NATURAL (non-menthol) cigarette to attract the young adult consumer desiring a non-menthol product. We have a solid base with NEWPORT and I foresee much success with the name of Newport on new packaging.

We would need packaging in the Soft pack and Box.

A good test area might be the Camden, New Jersey Division. NEWPORT KING SIZE is the #6 brand (all companies) in this division.

T.L.A.

Title: Subject: Product information
Document Date: 30 Aug 1978
Length: 2 pages
Bates No. 03537131/7132
URL: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/tqn61e00