Oblong General Snus Metal Cans - What went wrong?
I was introduced to the prototypes of the new metal General Snus cans back in October 2013 at a secret Swedish Match Snus Summit in Atlanta. Reaction from myself and the other members of the Snus Synod was positive; they were stylish and had a unique never before seen used snus compartment.
Fast-forward to a hastily called conference call on 21 Feb by SMUS for the October Snus Summit attendees (and most probably the NSA). It was then we learned the new snus cans for General Classic Blend and Nordic Mint had issues and could not pass Swedish Match quality control standards.
These issues were apparently so extreme that Swedish Match was postponing the metal can release indefinitely.
SMUS was pretty tight-lipped about what exactly the fatal quality issues were. I wish I could tell you they were radioactive or contained cadmium; it would make for a much more compelling tale. After looking at the sample cans we had received again, I would guess it has something to do with the flimsiness of the hinges.
My fellow Snus Lords and I did wonder why SMUS felt the urgency to update us via conference call. After reading the invitation, we were imagining all sorts of best case/worst case scenarios. The truth was something of a let-down.
Admirably, Swedish Match had noted how enthusiastic we all were about the new can concept last October and didn't want us to be blindsided and bitter by today's announcement.
Since my trusty Geiger Counter couldn't detect any radiation coming from the sample cans and the lab rats in the SnusCENTRAL Lab didn't die after licking the prototype cans for 5 days, I guess we'll have to accept the cause was a QC issue.
The SnusCIA hasn't closed the book on this yet, however. Hopefully they will uncover something more Pulitzer worthy.
Why are we talking about snus cans which you've never seen?
We did post a graphic of the new metal General snus cans on the SnusCentral Facebook page on 15 October 2013. If you do follow us on Facebook, you technically did see these cans so an update seemed appropriate.
From an international perspective, my fear was that this announcement would cause can-confusion. There are other metal General Snus cans not sold over-the-counter in the US.
The SMUS announcement concerning the metal oblong cans has nothing to do with the metal General Waterproof, Bullet Proof, or (non-metallic) Carbon Fiber round General snus cans of yesterday and today.
How a snus can looks is important
Obviously the most important aspect of snus is the quality and taste of the snus itself. Once that is established, the can itself must be considered. Product packaging is a critically important part of marketing any product.
Manufacturers spend enormous amounts of money on marketing companies who spend enormous amounts of time focus-testing brand names, product graphics, product descriptions, packaging functionality and user-friendliness.
When Swedish Match showed us the General Snus oblong metal cans 4.5 months ago, they were in reality focus testing the cans on us. We liked them which in itself carries a great deal of weight in the world of snus.
In a word, these snus cans were "bar-worthy".
Bar-Worthy is a concept I coined years ago for rating the attractiveness and sex appeal of a snus can. In short, would a snuser be proud to leave this can sitting on the bar next to their drink or hide the can in their pocket?
For snus users of either sex, a bar-worthy snus can shows the sophistication of the snuser and is an excellent conversation starter. An ugly or bargain-brand snus can is better left in the pocket.
Those of you who are fans of the Netflix series Lilyhammer saw bar-worthy at it's finest in a scene at a hotel bar with a man, a woman, a can of General loose snus, some conversation, and the discovery by the man of a room number left in the snus can after the woman left.... You'll have to subscribe to Netflix to see the power of a bar-worthy snus can yourself; no spoilers from me.
When in public, questions or compliments about my snus can are a great way to introduce Swedish snus to Americans unfamiliar with snus.
There are a number of bar-worthy snus cans on the market today; both from Swedish Match and other snus makers.
I would have to say the most bar-worthy production snus can on the global snus market today is Islay Whisky Snus by Conny Andersson.
It's a metal can with raised graphics on the lid and an almost rubbery coating. Islay Whisky Portion is also my favorite snus at present which doesn't hurt either.
Enjoy your Swedish Snus, from a bar-worthy can or not. After all, you can't fit a can under your lip!
From the safety and comfort of the SnusCENTRAL Bunker,
Swedish Snus Ambassador to the United States
Reporting for SnusCENTRAL.org