R.J. Reynolds Plans Brand Extensions

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc., the country’s second-largest cigarette maker, is launching new varieties of its Winston and Camel smokes in an effort to boost its share of the more-profitable market for premium brands, Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal reported.

The Winston-Salem, N.C., company is moving to drive growth in its Winston brand with a blend called Winston S2. The new cigarettes will come in metallic-silver packaging emblazoned with the Winston name in black-outlined letters. The smokes, which will start hitting store shelves around May, will be advertised as ?Quantum smooth.?

Reynolds (RJR) also is expanding its Camel line with new menthol cigarettes, known as Camel Turkish Jade.

The new cigarettes, now being test-marketed in Michigan, are an effort to build on the success of another Camel cigarette, Turkish Gold, which grew rapidly after it was introduced last year.

Ned Leary, the Reynolds vice president in charge of Winston, says that the new cigarettes are part of the company’s strategy to compete effectively in the wake of the 1998 legal settlement between the tobacco industry and state governments.

The settlement imposed restrictions on tobacco advertising and has resulted in sharp cigarette-price increases.

Copyright (c) 2001 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.