Sunday, July 18, 2010

A classic smoker loves

Changing the physical characteristics of a product – by creating utility, or delivering what represents true value to the customer are tried and tested ways of strengthening a brand. Product and marketing innovation are key to success and the more creative a brand is, the further it goes. This nurturing and development of a loyal customer depends not just on the degree to which a brand’s marketing employs images and words that resonate with an audience, but also on how well the product itself meets their needs and preferences.
More brands than ever before are crossing categories, introducing flavour variants, establishing new usage rites and rituals and bravely daring to be different. There was for example the case of Moonshot Beer, a light-brewed, Pilsner- style brew with 45mgs of caffeine added to it. This gave it the advantage of crossing two consumer goods segments: caffeinated beverages and beer. What the makers of Moonshot did is meet the needs the consumer for a nice cosy cup of warm coffee or a “let’s go have a beer” in one fell swoop.
Where Classic is concerned the brand is following a similar crossover approach in order to freshen the brand’s qualities and reinforce its appeal. The Classic brand has a long history of innovation, moving from full flavour to introduce Lights, Milds and Menthol variants. Today, the brand is fast travelling into the next dimension with the introduction of limited edition flavoured line extensions in designer packaging.
In the US ,blends have used fruit flavours such as berry, lime, coconut and citrus; sweet flavours like vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate, mint, and toffee; and even alcohol in the shape of bourbon, with catchy names like Kauai Kolada, Twista Lime and Berry Blast . Classic Cigarettes too has have produced a range of tea, coffee, citrus and orange blends to deliver a product that offers a different kind of pleasure, inviting its followers to discover a passion in a different but no less premium way.
There is something about flavoured cigarettes which evokes a kind of exotic sophistication, a whiff of the Rivera,. An indulgence reserved for special occasions that exemplifies the luxury concept of “smoking flavour to experience yet another taste.” Classic has combined innovation and creativity to turn the rules of the game on their head,
What is it that George Bernard Shaw wrote? “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, any progress depends on the unreasonable man.”


I've done a lot of thinking lately. The thinking that only occurs when you're snuggled down between the covers and the clock is blinking bright red digital 3am figures back at you and your mind is playing a constant loop of memories you'd rather forget. What is it about smoking that makes a person persist despite everything?
Smokers have their own group – you gather together at places where you have things in common, places you can unwind at. Occasionally if you’re in a new place where you can’t see anyone you know, you put the pack in front of you on the table as a signal. People tend to drift over if they smoke your kind of cigarette and then you drift into conversation.
Everyone thinks it’s the advertisements that tell you about cigarettes but actually, like most things yes, you look at the ad, but then it’s the cigarette itself that draws you in with its taste and flavour. With those first few puffs, you have a choice – whether to go with it or find something else that is more you. Yes the pack is important because the pack becomes your passport to the world when it sits there in front of you. And as you grow up you sometimes shift brands but that is because you have evolved as a person and you want the brand that you’re smoking to keep pace with you.
Cigarettes are useful – they give you a pause to think while you inhale and gradually exhale. They give you something to do with your hands when you’re feeling nervous or self conscious – which is why actors in Indian cinema spend a lot of time juggling cigarettes and packs when they’re not doing anything important in a scene. And of course, the smoke adds such an atmospheric effect to any film scene, curling up into the air and making nightclubs hazy.
When you’re young, you find yourself holding the cigarette in the same way as someone who you admire does. You even try the same cigarette. But then your own personality gradually kicks in and you can laugh at jokes about smokers being a desperate breed.
A cigarette is the perfect companion. Who is really great for you, who brings out the best in you, your partner in crime – a companion who is not going to second guess your relationship until it's lost all meaning. You can draw on it walking down a rain soaked pavement and use it to bring extra meaning to art or cinema, can actually consult it like a friend by the simple act of drawing on it.
The French had actually taken smoking to a new level by calling it ‘Le Smoking’ or ‘The Smoking’. You had special smoking jackets and whole line of couture designed by the likes of Yves St Laurent to complement the individual statement that you were making.
Smoking is me, the essential statement of who I am. Very few things can change that.

What’s your brand of smoke up to?

Savvy brand marketeers constantly do reality checks on the health of their brands ,asking two basic questions: “Is my brand the forerunner of change? Is my brand the index of forward-thinking?” In the tobacco scenario in India, one brand qualifies for an emphatic ”Yes” to both these searching questions :Classic. As a follower of brands and a smoker as well, I find Classic to be a class act, not only in understanding but fulfilling the emerging needs of consumers. The worth of a brand is surely measurable by the way it makes the cash register ring. But it rings the loudest only when it takes the lead in the category, like Classic does, pre-empting the changing taste of the consumers. Besides introducing me to international variants like milds, ultra milds and later slims,it has,over the years , bowled me over with one delightful surprise after another.Offering innovative flavours , each a first of its kind. Kafe Ato, with coffee flavour, Riviera Whiff with a twist of orange, Taste Treasures, blended with tea … I loved them all. This unconventional take on cigarettes, makes Classic so international and edgy. In fact sitting in the psychedelic but Oriental Budha Bar in Paris, listening to techno -fused sufi chants, I put my Classic Kafeato pack on the table, lit one cigarette and floated a lazy, meandering smoke ring into the subterranean lounge while the herd smoked sisha. Jim Patterson an NY lawyer, (whom Ididn’t know from Adam then and now my buddy), kept throwing ill-disguised glances of interest at my pack. Finally he couldn’t resist it any more. Dropping his sisha, he sauntered over and asked for a cigarette. I nodded. Lighting up , Jim nodded back approvingly, toying with the pack. “Keep the pack,” I said, smiling indulgently. My cool quotient was soaring.Classic had just made an international statement, thanks to me! And I am not complaining.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


“In order to be irreplaceable , one must always be different”- Coco Channel
I guess it’s true in every aspect of life, if you want to do something that counts and sets you apart from the rest.. It’s about innovating. Innovation is, the one word that separates the leader from the followers, the trend-setter from the me-toos..In my view, innovation is the difference between stagnation and progress. It is not necessarily about developing something from scratch but even improvising and adding incremental value, whether functional or aesthetic. I believe it’s how standards are set and the envelope is pushed , harder and harder. One great example I can see around me is the Classic brand of cigarettes. For years, they have set standards with multiple innovations , one after the other. India’s first mild,and ultra mild cigarettes all came from the Classic stable. So did Blue Leaf Tobacco blends and the Meteor Filter that added an new sensory appeal to menthol smokes..It also introduced handsome, break-away packaging—flat 10s, round corners, beveled edge packs. For me , what stands out most is Classic Verve Indias’s first slims- a ubecool and classy style statement. These Classic guys are always up-to-speed with cutting edge ideas. They always keep their third eye open.. And it always has a twinkle..

In the groove with rhythm and melodies

I am a sucker for music- with a keen ear for the Western variety. Not so much classical or opera but pop, rock, metal , jazz , reggae , hip-hop … stuff like that Music turns me on in different ways .Shaking a leg to hip-hop or rock in the disc is one way .But what I enjoy most is being with my music in my den, enveloped by the sound from my made –to- order system which I wouldn’t let a soul touch.. With my love for music comes my fad for collecting stuff around it. Cult posters from the iconic Abbey Road album cover, showing the Beatles crossing the zebra, mugs featuring Jim Morrison, the kinf of cool souvenirs you can see in Hard Rock CafĂ©, the world over. That’s why I cherish the special Classic cigarette packs, featuring different genres of popular international music.

My collection includes includes packs featuring metal, alternative, lounge, reggae. As a music lover, Clasic has really grabbed me big time. I love the way they reveal a little about the genre and style with a defining picture. I particularly love the arty way they depict lounge with the spinning vinyl. Then when you open the pack, you are rewarded by well researched nuggets about the music genre’s origins and it’s associations. Way to go Classic. You rock. I look forward to mre gems to fill my den.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

VERVE , you make feels so vervyyyyyyyyyy

i had grown up thinking only women smoke the slim cigarettes. Remember those stylish women staring at you from the Virginia slims ads. Boy ... it did something to me in my growing up days.. And then came a time in 2008 , when ITC launched "the most stylish" cigarette for men- Classic VERVE.
Ihad my reservations wanting to smoke a slim cigarette , thinking what if people mistake me to be a faggart . But thanks to Saif Khan'who wears the pinks and purples and looks so comfortable in his skin. I thought to myself perhaps this is one man , who can make a style statement out of nothing.Perhaps he could hold a slim cigarette with as much ease as the marlboro man with his stetson . Saif -a truly our ubercool man. Being a great fan of his, i told myself to try the VERVE . Boy... there has been no looking back. I feel super cool and super stylish ( almost dandy'ish) i am reminded of the famous catchline " you have come a long way baby ".Wish somebody could find a similar expression for me ...

How I jumpstart my day.

Nothing really starts my day until I have lit my first Classic cigarette. If I don't do that , all my mornings are blue. Monday blues, Tuesday blues, even Sunday blues.

My treadmill too is just a laid-back option. To bounce back into the rhythm of life, I need my pick- you- up Classic. Rain or no rain, the clouds don't lift for me until I close my eyes and enjoy the sheer pleasure of my first Classic of the day- between sips of decaf. Definitely a defining moment in my daily calendar. Because after that, I am ready for the world- of course with Classic to continue keeping me going whenever I in the mood for it.

I also look forward to my Classic smoke to round off a good meal .Particularly after dinner, a leisurely smoke is an indulgence I always give in to. Ever tried a Classic after enjoying a seafood salad paired with Bordeaux white?

My travels to off-shore destinations are incomplete without my ciggies travelling with me. When i see my colleagues giving up their favourite brands for a brand at the Dutifree shop, i wonder whether favourites can be changed . For me Classic is my favourite. And in my opinion , a favourite is for always....