Scandinavian Tobacco Group | ...Gasp!

Scandinavian Tobacco Group

UK Product Relaunch

UK Relaunch of Break Cigarillos

The Brief

Scandinavian Tobacco Group’s Break cigarillo launched in the UK in 2014. Despite successful sales across Europe, the product had failed to gain any traction over here. Gasp was tasked with drilling into the reasons behind the poor sales, before proposing a new strategy to increase sales and awareness.

Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG) is the world’s largest manufacturer of cigars and pipe tobacco.

The Response

A comprehensive plan was created to evaluate product positioning and the target audience, as well as establishing the key messages for trade and consumers. From these insights we devised a pilot re-launch programme to trial a new approach to selling and marketing Break, with our ultimate aim being to arrest any further decline in sales, creating a turning point and eventual uplift.

We produced an infomercial in a vintage yet fresh visual style, which was a great asset in gauging both public and employee opinion on the existing product positioning.

We started with external qualitative and quantitative research across the UK. Speaking to a wide cross-section of smokers of all ages, habits and diverse socio-economic backgrounds, we combined focus groups with online questionnaires and blogs to produce a broad mix of exceptionally valuable and enlightening feedback.

Running alongside this, we conducted honest interviews with a mix of sales staff to understand existing barriers to market, preconceptions and weaknesses in the current strategy. These staff members became a task force for the campaign and empowering brand ambassadors for Break. Acting as a conduit between the Break campaign team and the rest of the business, they motivated, challenged and encouraged everyone to be on board with the new vision.

Following the internal and external research, a new messaging framework was created to correctly position Break to consumers, trade and retailers. A second, revamped infomercial was produced to support the new positioning of Break as appealing to 20-35 year old, free-thinking urbanites who like to stand out from the crowd. Furthermore, a multi-faceted toolkit was built for the sales team with all the assets required to execute a high impact re-launch, including countertop dispensers, promotional materials and a leaderboard app to support a retailer incentive scheme.

The app included all the pertinent information required about Break, but also showed ‘real time’ sales for each store involved in the activity. With regional and national prizes up for grabs, the leaderboard enabled the stores to understand how successful they were and made prize winning far more tangible. What’s more, to add a little competitive spice, we also included a view that allowed STG sales execs to compare themselves to one another, encouraging rivalry and enabling retailers to motivate their own regional execs.

The pilot programme was unveiled at the STG sales conference. Giant Break piñatas were strung up in the grounds of the hotel, before the staff were encouraged to let loose and begin the day by beating out all of their negativity and frustration towards the product! This was a great way for them to embrace the new strategy and discover the energy and enthusiasm necessary for success, which they then maintained and infused throughout the whole campaign.

The Results

The large and extensive pilot programme ran across 262 UK stores in 2015.

During that time an impressive 155,023 sticks were sold with one standout store responsible for 7% of that individually!

The elegant and eye-catching countertop units and competitive leaderboard kept the programme top of mind. Consistent sales visits kept morale and motivation high, whilst mystery shops and additional training support ensured that retailers had everything they needed, and any issues could be resolved quickly and easily.

The entire strategy was devised and delivered in just 5 months, which we’re sure you’ll agree, is an impressive feat in organisation!

James Higgs, Marketing Director, STG

“I immediately appreciated Gasp’s genuine interest in our business challenges. The combination of their experience, strategy and creativity is impressive. All this gives me confidence that they’re the right strategic partner for STG.”

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