Copenhagen Brand to Expand

RICHMOND, Va. -- The one-year anniversary of the acquisition of Copenhagen maker U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co.'s by Altria Group passed last month. And with it, the tobacco company is gearing up to embark on a mission "to extend [Copenhagen's] leadership position" in the moist smokeless tobacco market, company officials told CSNews Online last week.

This goal is achievable for two reasons, according to Brian W. Quigley, vice president of Copenhagen, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. (USSTC). The first being that Copenhagen is an iconic and leading brand in the moist tobacco segment, since it has existed since 1822, he told CSNews Online. The second: there is "huge growth potential" for Copenhagen because adult consumers know the brand and its qualities.

After realizing these opportunities, Copenhagen will focus on two things to achieve its goals -- understanding consumer desires and offering a high-quality product they want, and provide messaging to consumers to encourage them to try the new Copenhagen brand.

One thing that previously hindered the brand's growth is it didn't offer the flavors or styles that consumers were seeking. That will change, however, as of later this month, when USSTC will unveil two new Copenhagen varieties -- Copenhagen Long Cut straight and Copenhagen Extra Long Cut Natural. These two new products, which will be available nationally, add to the successful November introduction of Copenhagen Long Cut Wintergreen, Quigley said. These three introductions -- within less than six months -- mark the first major product launch for the brand since 2007, and before that, 2004, he noted.

Altria's fourth-quarter earnings release credited the Wintergreen product to contributing to the 0.9 share growth in the moist smokeless segment for USSTC and Philip Morris USA, compared to the third quarter 2009, said Altria spokesman Greg Mathe.

According to USSTC, the majority of adult tobacco consumers who try the Wintergreen moist smokeless tobacco product will buy it again. In addition, Copenhagen Wintergreen isn't cannibalizing other Copenhagen products, but is taking share from other Wintergreen moist smokeless tobacco products, the officials told CSNews Online.

To increase adult tobacco consumer interest of the new products, USSTC will offer an introductory list price as well as point-of-sale signage that features all three new Copenhagen varieties and asks consumers to choose Copenhagen.

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