Chesterfield. How to survive in the advertising war

Chesterfield. How to survive in the advertising war

For the first time, people learned about the Chesterfield tobacco brand back in 1873. And the Drummond Tobacco Company should be thanked for this, for which the release of cigarettes was, in fact, a side business. The company made its main profit from the sale of chewing tobacco. New cigarettes, and even named after a county in the state of Virginia, were supposed to strengthen the patriotic image, at the same time giving the company a touch of aristocracy. However, Drummond did not have time to develop the brand properly. The famous "tobacco wars" broke out.

The end of the 19th century in America was marked by constant clashes between large corporations and medium and small businesses. As the old Karl Marx wrote, capitalism began to move into its final stage - imperialism. Monopolies devoured everything in their path. In the tobacco industry, the empire of the American Tobacco Company has become such an insatiable monster. In 1898, Drummond, despite fierce resistance and a powerful ally in the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company (the one that later gave the world the L&M brand), was absorbed.

When the American Tobacco Company took over 90% of the world market in 1907, the American government became worried. And so that this stage of capitalism would not really become the last, the special services rolled up their sleeves and set about the nicotine monopoly. During the investigation, it turned out that the company managed to repeatedly violate antitrust laws. After lengthy litigation, the US Supreme Court ruled that the American Tobacco Company should be split into separate companies. Among others, Liggett & Myers returned to the world, taking with them the Chesterfield brand as a bonus. Although Chesterfield killed many people, the rumors about sponsoring Hitler's campaign turned out to be just rumors.

Chesterfield on the waves of competition

After the collapse of the monster corporation, active and aggressive activity began in the US tobacco market. Companies began to invest heavily in advertising and promotion of their products. To survive, Chesterfield had to change a lot. In principle, only a sonorous name remained from the old brand. The components of the tobacco mixture also had to be changed. And decoration. Very soon, thanks to a reasonable approach to promotion, the brand managed to take a leading position, losing only to such peppy ones as Camel and Lucky Strike.

But there were quite creative people there too. Therefore, Chesterfield manufacturers very soon felt the full power of black PR technologies. For starters, in 1934 a rumor was spread that Liggett & Myers' flagship factory in Richmond was employing lepers. The consumer did not want to smoke tobacco flavored with leprosy. And in just a few months, Chesterfield sales collapsed. Neither the intervention of the mayor of Richmond, nor even the official denial of the Board of Health, helped. For captured German soldiers, Chesterfield was the only hard currency. The company did not have time to really recover from this blow, as it immediately “flew” after it. In the midst of World War II, good-natured competitors threw information into the press that Liggett & Myers had once allocated $1.5 million to Adolf Hitler for the election campaign as sponsorship. What started here ... Thank God, it didn’t come to pogroms. True, these cigarettes still influenced German culture. Where American troops entered, it was Chesterfield that quickly became the main currency. In those days, even such a not entirely funny ditty went among the Germans: “Wettn Ami mil der Schwester spiel bekomme ich ein Chesterfield” (“If the Yankees frolic with my sister, I will get a Chesterfield”).

Unsinkable Chesterfield

Young Ronald Reagan did not hesitate to advertise Chesterfield. But, despite the constant attacks, Chesterfield managed to not only survive, but also gain momentum again. The brand owes this to thoughtful advertising campaigns. First of all, mass attraction of movie stars. Monsters of the old guard - Humphrey Bogart, James Dean, Lucille Ball - they all took part in advertising cigarettes. Chesterfield also sponsored the famous Glenn Miller radio show and the television series Gunsmoke for several years. On the advertising posters of the brand, sports stars such as baseball players and football players were also frequent guests. Moreover, one of the posters flaunts none other than Ronald Reagan. Of course, this happened back when he was just a famous actor, and not the most effective president. Having become one of the most effective US presidents, Reagan tried not to think about the Chesterfield advertising campaign. Chesterfield spent a lot of money and effort to penetrate books, plays and Broadway productions. Cunning marketers have managed to squeeze their cigarettes even into rock culture. So, in San Francisco there is even a hard rock band The Chesterfields. In general, the secret of success is simple: believe in yourself, do not pay attention to attacks, remember that there are no forbidden tricks in the tobacco business, and then success awaits you. In the case of Chesterfield, it worked 100%.

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