It’s the end of an era for one of Japan’s most recognized and established brands, well, at least for smokers anyway. On Wednesday, Japan Tobacco Inc. announced that its global flagship brand of cigarettes, Mild Seven, has been rebranded to the name Mevius. Company president Mitsuomi Koizumi says the change is part of an effort to displace Marlboro as the world’s best-selling cigarette, and strengthen Japan Tobacco’s brand and presence, as they aim to become the number one global premium brand.
After first being introduced in Japan in 1977, within one year Mild Seven went on to become the best-selling brand of cigarettes in the country. Japan Tobacco has said that a globally unified packaging will begin in November of this year, while the Mevius name itself won’t launch in Japan until February of 2013. Marketing spokespeople say the new name specifically keeps the “M” and “S” from the Mild Seven brand, as a way of symbolizing evolution and a connection to the brand’s heritage.
In its international reach, Mild Seven is already a significantly popular brand in Russia and other Asian markets like South Korea, Taiwan, and Malaysia. The large-scale market where Japan Tobacco’s Mild Seven is yet to be sold is in Europe, however Koizumi says the rebranding is not a direct attempt to meet the region’s strict regulations. As the world’s fifth-most smoked brand of cigarettes, Mild seven currently brings in global sales of over 1 trillion yen (approx. $12.7 billion) per year.
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