News; Aug 16, 2007 CET

Red Man – the flagship of chewing tobacco

The Red Man brand of chewing tobacco is so strong that it is almost synonymous with the entire product category. But success did not happen by itself. More than 100 years of brand management and product development stand behind Red Man’s leading position in the market for chewing tobacco.

Red Man cansRed Man chewing tobacco is far and away Swedish Match’s best-known brand in the US. Even Americans who do not chew tobacco recognize the brand: the logo, the Indian head and the characteristic red print.

"Red Man enjoys such a high level of brand recognition in the US that it is fair to speak of it as a piece of American heritage," says David Price, Vice President Marketing at Swedish Match North America Division.

Swedish Match leads the American market for chewing tobacco and Red Man is the main reason for this. Of Swedish Match’s approximately 44-percent share of the American market for chewing tobacco, the Red Man line accounts for more than 85 percent, or a full 37.5 percent of the market.*

The first handwritten recipe for tobacco

The Red Man line comprises five products. Three of these account for most of sales: Red Man Original, Red Man Golden Blend and Red Man Silver Blend. The other two products, Red Man Select and Red Man Plug, have significantly lower sales.

The history of Red Man dates back more than 100 years. The brand was introduced in 1904. Swedish Match possesses a copy of the first handwritten recipe for Red Man, written by the founder of the Pinkerton Tobacco Company (acquired by Swedish Match in 1985).

For the first 50 years, Red Man was only distributed in a handful of states. The brand expanded in 1954 throughout the southern states and went national in 1963. During the 1990s, additional brands were added to the chewing-tobacco brand portfolio, including J.D.'s Blend, but Red Man remains the flagship brand within the product category.

Innovation and product development

"We have been successful in managing the Red Man brand," says David Price. "Through innovation and product development, we have also defended Red Man’s leading market position."

To give an example of such innovation, Red Man was the first brand of chewing tobacco packaged in a resealable bag that extends product life. An example of product development was the introduction of Red Man Silver Blend, the first sugar-free chewing tobacco product, in 2005. Red Man Silver Blend has since established a strong foothold in the market.

Distinct consumer profile

Red Man consumers are very loyal. Accordingly, it has become an important part of the marketing strategy to reward loyal consumers through programs such as "Buy five packages and get one free." Chewing tobacco is sold in the same kinds of stores as other tobacco products in the US, but most sales occur through convenience stores and low-price tobacco outlets. Specially sized packaging is also produced to fit the space requirements of these sorts of stores.

Besides brand loyalty, Red Man consumers have much else in common. The majority of them live in the southern or southeastern parts of the country - 14 states account for approximately 85-90 percent of the total sales in the US. Another common denominator is that a large percentage of them live out in the country, enjoy spending time outdoors and engage in leisure activities such as fishing and hunting. Sales data show a clear increase in sales during the spring, summer and autumn, when consumers spend more time outdoors than during the winter.

Red Man as a traditional American snuff

"Chewing tobacco was previously a traditional practice passed on from father to son," explains David Price. "We are clearly seeing a rise in the average age of consumers, with fewer new users entering the category."

"However, the market for moist snuff is growing consistently, despite the consumer profile for moist snuff being very similar to that for chewing tobacco. Accordingly, it seems natural to extend our strong chewing tobacco brand, Red Man, into the market for snuff, and a moist snuff product will be launched under the Red Man brand at the end of the summer. Borrowing the Red Man name and applying it to the moist snuff category provides instant legitimacy, quality and heritage; all values that are very important to the moist snuff consumer. The launch is an integral component of our growth strategy in moist snuff, the category that represents the number one opportunity for Swedish Match North America."

* Source: ACNielsen