Brand of the Day: Meet the U.S. Market Leader in E-Cigarettes

Blu launches a new product as lawmakers debate the category's regulations

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Electronic cigarettes may be relatively young product category, but that doesn't mean various brands aren't battling for top spot of a $2 billion market.

Beyond the litany of debates over the products—the laws, regulations, whether or not they're safe, even disposable vs. refillable products—lies a customer base vying for devices that deliver the sensation of smoking without as much of the harm.

The current king, by sales, is Blu, a band founded in 2009 by Jason Healy. The disposable e-cigarettes come in three flavors: classic tobacco, magnificent menthol, and cherry crush. Blu also has rechargeable kits, with pre-filled flavor cartridges that come in the disposable flavors as well as java jolt, vivid vanilla, pina colada and peach schnapps. They are sold in over 160,000 locations nationwide, and ads for the brand run on Comedy Central and Spike TV. 

Social Media Profile (as of 9/18/14)

Facebook Likes: 61,621

Twitter Followers: 15,046

Instagram Followers: 2,175

The brand isn't all that prolific on social channels, but maybe it doesn't have to be. Celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (even if that was for a sketch) have brought the spotlight to e-cigarettes. 

Recent Advertising

Much of the brand's advertising focuses on all the thing a Blu smoker can do (actually, all the things actor/spokesman Stephen Dorff can do)—whether it's hiking, biking, racecar driving, smoking inside, you get the picture. Ending with the tagline, "Take back your freedom," the e-cigarette brand leans heavily on on the dichotomy of what smokers can do with e-cigarettes versus what they can't do with regular cigarettes.

Healy puts it bluntly, telling Politico: "In order to defeat tobacco and cigarettes, we have to appeal to smokers." 

The CMO's Philosophy

"We strive to be real, passionate and responsible with every marketing campaign blu eCigs produces, whether it's PR related or the latest advertisement," says vp of marketing Matt Coapman. "Our mission is to deliver satisfaction to all adult smokers—and the messages we have created over the past five years have certainly fused our consumers' input with our overarching goal to offer smokers an innovative alternative that best suits their needs."

Fast Facts

Reynolds American recently acquired Blu's parent company Lorillard (for a cool $25 billion) but it will not be keeping Blu under its corporate umbrella. Instead, Reynolds sold Blu to the U.K.'s Imperial Tobacco in an effort to boost Vuse, its own e-cigarette brand.

Stephen Dorff serves as the brand's spokesman, alhough Jenny McCarthy has also appeared in ads for the brand. 

• Dorff and Healy have posted question and answer sessions on Blu's Youtube page.

• Blu launched a new product this week called Blu Plus. 

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@KristinaMonllos Kristina Monllos is a senior editor for Adweek.