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
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
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
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.