In any case, they tracked the market closely, and now, after the 2007 purchase of Gallaher, have finally launched what looks like a great new product in Premium.
Joakim’s statement about being the first to launch the combi-lid with hinges, extra-strong snus and the ‘extra-large snus portion pouches’ (Maxis) is absolutely correct. The lid, originally attached to Gustavus, is still, in my view, the best in the market.
The maxi was called GRAND XL, and was already discontinued when I arrived. The next project in 2005 was a sexy product called “Strong-Cut” in bergamot/citrus and juniper, both in hi-nic portion and loose. Sleek round cans in gray and blue with rounded edges and a silvery lid up top. Beautiful. But the market was just not ready. And Gallaher was interested in short-term profit success stories at the time.
As for TSNA’s, you can be assured that the JTI standard falls in with Gothiatek or better. Gallaher/Gustavus once introduced its own, (much) lesser known “Swedish Quality” standard as an equivalent to Gothiatek. Most, if not all, snus in Sweden far exceeds the Gothiatek ‘5 parts per million’ standard by virtue of the production process.
Sweden is a testy market in terms of tobacco launches. Any closed parties or events around a launch must be choreographed by the minute. A previous management team, before Gallaher, woke up in 2002 to a headline “These People Want Your Children To Smoke” in one of the nastier tabloids after a series of parties for the launch of a new cigarette product. Their salaries and license-plate numbers were all listed, with photos.
BAT had a similar front-page problem when they launched Lucky Strike snus with a party in Stockholm in 2005.
So, in this environment, Joakim was doing the best he could. Sweden enforces tobacco advertising restrictions on a locality basis, and lightly, but violations are often blown out of proportion in the press.
Even Swedish Match runs afoul from time to time, and walking on eggshells is "de rigeur" in Sweden (and Norway, too).
CAMEL will require investment over time in Sweden, and in Norway, if it hasn't yet been presented, a good strategy for launch next year into that restrictive trade structure.
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