Swedish Match North America, maker of moist snuff, cigars and chewing tobacco, is taking a different approach to marketing its Swedish-style snus tobacco product when compared to two other U.S. tobacco companies offering the product, according to a report by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.Swedish Match marketers began a sampling effort in Vail, Colo., and now are handing out silvery sample packs of General Snus on Wall Street — a sign that the product will be positioned as a high-end item, the report stated.”We are emphasizing the Swedish cachet,” Richard Flaherty, president of Swedish Match North America, told the paper when asked about the sampling push.In addition, Swedish Match’s General brand is more expensive than either the Marlboro brand by Altria Group’s Philip Morris unit, or Reynolds American’s Camel brand.
The premium positioning is not the only difference in its marketing strategy.”We’re not marketing snus as something for when you can’t smoke. We’re marketing it as an alternative to cigarettes,” Flaherty said in the report.
The company is looking for smokers who don’t want to smoke at all, rather than using the product as a fill-in to cigarettes, the report stated. For this reason, the company identified a key target group in parents who worry about secondhand smoke at home, Flaherty said.
In addition, the focus on niche consumer groups rather than the general tobacco market is a reason why General isn’t appearing in convenience stores. Instead of fighting for shelf space with two of the toughest competitors in c-stores, Swedish Match has focused on tobacco outlets, Flaherty said.
Last year, the company expanded General’s retail availability from 100 stores to more than 600. That expansion is continuing this year, with entrances into specialty cigarette and cigar stores, Flaherty said in the report.”We’re being very deliberate,” Flaherty said. “But we’re definitely expanding.”