Cigars have to stand out in order to be noticed. Especially in today’s marketplace. It’s simple, there are just too many cigars out there. So we have a marketing problem. It really doesn’t matter what the cigar tastes like at first sight. It’s that first look that is going to attract the consumer.
Every company also has the answer, too. Oh yes. Every manufacturer will tell you straight out that their band will produce eyes like Margaret Keane painted. Trouble is, it ain’t so. If that were the case every cigar would be noticed and hopefully plucked out of the box and purchased.
So what to do? The creative imagination has to be revved into top gear. And this trend toward intellectual magnetism has gotten so competitive that it’s almost a miracle when someone comes along and actually does it right.
One perfect example is The Leaf by Oscar. When that cigar was first introduced to the public at the IPCPR a few years ago, the first impressions was “Damn, that is one ugly m@\$#F+-%*”g cigar. It’s a gimmick. Even if it was a hollow attempt to draw your attention, i.e. the cigar had to be trash. Truth be told, I thought the same thing when I first saw it.
Here’s the kicker – the packaging of a tobacco leaf wrapped around a gorgeous cigar ignited interest. It not only grabbed your attention but the cigar held up. Not only in construction but in flavor. But what’s the true test on any cigar? Consistency. And this ugly duckling passed that test with flying wrappers. The idea was a one-in-a-million shot and it passed passivity. Its unique, pre-wrapper insights intriguing interest so well that it has to be considered one of the best selling boutique cigars on the market today. And so far that popularity is edging its nose right into Tomorrowland.
Another bullseye is by Black Label Trading Company by creating bands with a Gothic theme that draws your vision away from the traditional paper rings. One such inception is been branded with a name that kills – or at least stings (excuse the pun) – Killer Bee. This little gem has a cap that resembles the muted yellow and matte black (Connecticut or Habano and Maduro) stripéd abdomen of those nasty buzzing picnic pests.
Yet, some just don’t get it and go with the traditional gold-embossed bland band that is easily overlooked. It’s not an easy task where the attention span of the average human mind is approximately eight seconds. That doesn’t sound like a lot of time and it isn’t. But that’s all the time a cigar maker has to turn your head from the competition.
All businesses do something that will assimilate their product into your consciousness amid the vast wasteland of the continuous din that surrounds us every second of our lives. One glorious and brilliant example is in the November issue of Vogue magazine. The product is about 96 years old. The name is synonymous with social class and is so recognizable one might think the marketing magicians on Fifth Avenue would be out of ideas by now. But they are not.
“Introducing Gabrielle Chanel,” the newest addition to one of the most – if not the most – popular fragrance company in the history of perfumes (excluding the oldest scent still being offered today – Eau de Cologne.)
So how did the advertisers set this new scent apart? It started with tactile accentuation. The paper is about four times the thickness of the magazine’s standard paper. So you just go there. On the first page is printed “Introducing Gabrielle Chanel.” You can’t miss it due to the page’s thickness. Flip the page and to the left is a model that seems to be staring at the page to its right. And on that page is a perfect photo of an oversized bottle of the fragrance. To its right toward the edge is a graphic of a smaller bottle sprouting a miniature tab with an arrow pointing up. What will everyone do? Pull the tab. And when they do, they are immediately immersed in the heavenly scent of Gabrielle. Brilliant.
Flip that page over and the reader is greeted to two more pictures of this new product. The pages then return to their normal thickness and if you wish to read further, you are hit with another add for a book all about the famed covers of this iconic fashion magazine.
That my friend is the epitome of getting your attention. And that is what marketing is supposed to do. Some will. Some won’t.
It’s not just the blend be it perfume or cigars. It’s having the imagination and the intestinal fortitude to toddle down the path of precious moments of courage you believe in.