BAT seeks UK agency for 555 Asian PR drive

British American Tobacco (BAT), the world’s second largest tobacco company, is looking for a UK agency to co-ordinate the promotion of its State Express 555 brand in Asia. Fees for the account are believed to be up to pounds 250,000.

British American Tobacco (BAT), the world’s second largest tobacco

company, is looking for a UK agency to co-ordinate the promotion of its

State Express 555 brand in Asia. Fees for the account are believed to be

up to pounds 250,000.



The company wants to increase the brand’s market share in Asia, seen as

a growth region by tobacco firms.



The tobacco giant drew up a list of around five agencies through the

PRCA’s referral system, which matches clients needs with potential

agencies.



At least two agencies approached, including Cohn and Wolfe and Barclay

Stratton, are known to have declined to pitch for ethical reasons. Other

agencies approached through the PRCA already represented rival tobacco

companies.



State Express 555 senior international brand manager Frances Leung said:

’We have been talking to a number of PR companies.’ She added that the

campaign was still at the planning stage. BAT is looking for a

multinational agency with experience in tackling international

campaigns. Affiliates or owned offices in Asia are not a prerequisite,

as BAT may appoint local PR operators.



The tobacco giant is aiming to raise the profile of State Express 555

among committed smokers aged between 20 and 25. BAT retains Edelman PR

Worldwide to promote its sponsorship of British and US motor racing,

including Formula One, and Charles Barker BSMG for international PR

work.



Last year BAT sponsored the 555 Subaru world rally racing team at the

World Rally Championship, which ended last November.



BAT’s other brands include Benson and Hedges and Lucky Strike. The

company does not sell cigarettes in the UK. Its turnover is the second

largest behind Philip Morris Companies.



Last year BAT demerged its financial tobacco divisions which saw the

firm’s corporate and regulatory affairs director Michael Prideaux merge

his 12-strong corporate team with the 20-strong tobacco team.



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