Marlboro its 15th variety - Blend No. 54 - menthol flavored..

July 22, 2009 - The nation's biggest cigarette maker's newest Marlboro variety -- its 15th (in the U.S) -- is called Blend No. 54, a menthol-flavored cigarette with a tobacco blend that Philip Morris spokesman Bill Phelps described as having a richer, bolder taste. The green-on-green boxes have been showing up in stores in recent weeks.

The latest from Get Your Coupon - savings on any style Marlboro including New Blend No. 54..

The six Marlboro varieties Philip Morris introduced immediately before Blend 54 have captured about 2 percent of the U.S. market since 2002, Phelps said. That translates to about $180 million a year of after-tax income for the company, he said.

Phelps: "Line extensions are very successful for us." Modifying Marlboro to make different versions has been a key to Philip Morris strategy for years.

Since 2002, Marlboro's share of the overall market climbed from 37.4 percent to 41.2 percent, Phelps said. While there's no tally of how many smokers switch from one type of Marlboro to another, the figures suggest Philip Morris won a lot of smokers from other companies' brands.

The tweak with Blend No. 54 is a strong tobacco flavor combined with menthol. The company's other menthol brands are versions of its main Marlboro Red brand, as well as medium-strength, lights and ultralights varieties, which have less nicotine and tar.

"They want to defend share, and profits, in a declining market, which is what the U.S. cigarette market is doing," said Frank Franzak, a marketing professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. "This type of continuous innovation, even when the changes are minor, is considered the best way to maintain a leadership position in a mature market," he said.

Marlboro, ever since its 1955 reintroduction as a filter cigarette in its red-and-white box, has become one of the business world's biggest brand-making success stories. In the 1920s, Philip Morris marketed Marlboro as a woman's cigarette but stopped selling it during World War II. The relaunch of Marlboro aimed at tapping a fast-growing market for filter cigarettes, and "Marlboro Country" advertising from the 1960s with its working cowboys and music from a famous Western film created an image that eventually made it the leading cigarette brand in much of the world. (Quit Smoking! Two ‘Marlboro Man’ Died of Lung Cancer by Monalisa Hyden, Ezine Articles, 10/16/2006; also the Winston Man, Alan Landers dies of lung cancer..) Marlboro Man - Wayne McLaren..

Reference: Philip Morris adds another cigarette to Marlboro lineup by David Ress, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 7/22/2009.

Blend No. 54 related news briefs: More on Philip Morris' New Menthol Marlboro 54..; C-store Update; Marlboro Menthol No.54, Camel SNUS, Altria, etc..; Philip Morris USA introduces - Marlboro Blend No. 54 - menthol cigarettes..; C-store update: from Light, Ultra-lights to Colors; etc..; C-Store Update - Philip Morris USA to introduce another Marlboro menthol cigarette...



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