Virginia Slims "Purse Pack" Available 1st Quarter 2009..

October 9, 2008 - Philip Morris USA will introduce its new pink "Purse Packs" for select Virginia Slims brands by the first quarter of 2009. The Purse Pack, available for Virginia Slims Super Slims Ultra Lights and Virginia Slims Super Slims Lights, is pink, sleek rectangular packaging with square ends. It holds 20 sticks that are smaller in diameter than a typical smoke. "We think it will have a unique appeal to folks who smoke Virginia Slims," said a Philip Morris rep. Advertising, via Leo Burnett, Chicago, is currently being developed. It likely will include direct and event marketing, plus POP (point-of-purchase) support.

Philip Morris already claims about 58% of the Ultra Light market share and intends to use the compact Purse Pack to make headway in the Light category. It has its sights set squarely on the only other super slim entry, Capri, which is handled by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco.

Philip Morris had just six line extensions, including Marlboro Smooth and Marlboro 72, during the past 12 months. This was about half of RJR's new launches, yet Philip Morris grabbed 2 share points and $180 million in sales, per the company. RJR, a unit of Reynolds American, reported that Camel's market share grew 0.2 percentage points to 8% during the second quarter although sales declined 7% from the comparable 2007 quarter. Marlboro grew 0.8 share points to grab a record 41.8% of market share while Virginia Slims declined 0.2 percentage points to 2% share of the retail market, per IRI.

Reference: Virginia Slims Hopes to Look Prettier in Pink by Mike Beirne, Brandweek, 10/8/2008.

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