Qualitative Decisions Center Research for Lorillard: A Qualitative Exploration of Bistro in the Test Market of Sacramento. Describes focus group (21 and older) response to Bistro image and packaging. Notes some found package gimmicky and thought it might contain marijuana or candy cigarettes, and that the "person" on pack seemed clownish, not sophisticated. Gives Bistro smoker profile: male or female, sophisticated, younger. Finds high trial and awareness, high likelihood of conversion due to Bistro's clear identity statement. Suggests sampling in bars and discos.
Original document code was 2857.
- Lorillard Inc.
- Major Subject
- Advertising and Marketing
- Minor Subject
- Advertising and Marketing -advertising copy
- Advertising and Marketing -packaging
- Advertising and Marketing -research --focus group
- Advertising and Marketing -sampling
- Brand -image
- Brand -switching
- Cigarette -advertising and marketing
- Cigarette -brand image
- Smoker -profile
- Marketing Type
- Qualitative, Decisions Center Inc
Page 1: dkt70e00
A QUALITATIVE EXPLORATION
OF BISTRO IN THE TEST MARKET
th20 ~ S-S q(, I3ag( N
205 LEXINGTON AVENUE, NEW YORK, N.Y. 10016 (212) 679-2500
Page 2: dkt70e00
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Background 1
- Method 1
II. MANAGEMENT SUMMARY 2
- Dimensions that Define the BISTRO Smoker 8
III. TECHNICAL APPENDIX
- Discussion Guide
Page 3: dkt70e00
BACKGROUND AND METHOD
Page 4: dkt70e00
BISTRO, a new low tar (12 mg.) product, was introduced into test market
on August 3, 1981. The introduction involved both a regular and a menthol
version in the 85 mm. category. The test market chosen was Sacramento,
The new brand has very distinctive packaging, which is brightly-colored
and consists of an abstract face as the design of the pack. Additionally,
the advertising consists of the package and/or an interplay between the
packs, with the copy line, "Not just another faceless cigarette."
Four focus group sessions were conducted in Sacramento on September 30
and October 1, 1981, only nine weeks after the int roduction of BISTRO
into the market. All participants were smokers who were aware of BISTRO,
and nearly all had tried the brand.
Further, two sessions were among men 21 to 34 years old and 35 to 49
years old, respectively, and two sessions consisted of women of the same
Page 5: dkt70e00
Page 6: dkt70e00
s The basic hypothesis behind the concept of BISTRO appears to have
been substantiated. Namely,
- Its awareness is seemingly high, as is trial of the product.
- It is distinctive and noted.
- It is involving.
- It is "not just another faceless cigarette," and thus makes an
impact, breaking through the clutter of new cigarette entries.
The notion that BISTRO "makes a statement" about the smoker also
seems, from this initial exploration, to be the case. This statement
can be defined as folloNts:
If one had to describe the BISTRO smoker, he or she would be:
- sophisticated and slightly avant garde,
- somewfiat individualistic,
- "in" or keeping up with the latest trends -- New roxk and San
- someone who aspires to/fantasizes about being urbane and "above
Page 7: dkt70e00
- male or female, albeit of the particular "type" described here
(male, owing to BISTRO's boldly colorful package and 85 mm. length).
This is not the alternate brand for the "Marlboro Man."
The entire positioning of BISTRO is seen by most as upbeat -- a
positive statement about smoking.
- Its package "says" smoking pleasure.
- The approach is light-hearted and lacks associations to sources
of guilt (e.g., tar and nicotine levels).
- Reactions to the package are polarized -- either yes or no.
The BISTRO name (pronounced by most as BISTRO) and the boldly colored
packaging do indicate that the brand might be more flavorful, i.e.,
stronger, than other new market entries. However, many still expect
it to be a "very" low tar, due to their expectations regarding all new
Few, if any, seem to actually notice the "Lights" on the package.
- Some initially feel it might be European and, thus, very strong,
but expectations regarding mild/low tar entries prevail.
Some cannot distingulsh the face on the pack, seeing only an eye, an
abstract design or an animal's face, but most agree that it is an
Page 8: dkt70e00
- There is minor feeling that for some, initial reactions to the pack
were that it contained "funny" cigarettes (marijuana) or even candy
- A few found tt "gimmicky," and wondered if it would endure.
Reaction to the advertising is also impressive in terms of impact and
- Both the visual elements and copy line are well remembered and liked.
- Since no people are featured, anyone can identify with the brand
if the pack and concept are appealing.
- Further, there is high awareness of billboard, print and point-
The interplay between the packs featured in many ads clearly adds to
the "animation" of the brand. Most see the face as that of a man,
but the interaction between the two packs is often perceived as a man
and a woman.
Most feel that the interplay between the packs should be kept simple,
subtle and definitely not too "far out," "outrageous" or "silly." This
would dilute and distort the sophisticated image that the brand seems
- The animated additions Ce.g., smoke rings and hand) seem to
confuse many who seem to prefer the playfulness of the packs
relating to each other.
Page 9: dkt70e00
The personification of the package and character ascribed to
the "happy male smoker" (depicted to most) provides most with
adequate stimulus,,and does not seem to need extras to add to
its appeal, at least near term.
The addition of minor human elements, such as the woman'ss hand (or
legs), is_quite reasonable and effective, if it is creatively desirable
to take this direction.
- Women find the legs overly sexual.
- Men -- especially younger ones -- do not object to this image per se.
The actual personification of the total BISTRO person is rejected by
nearly everyone as rfdiculous and absurd/"clownish" and, thus, incongruous
with what they feel is the sophisticated, tasteful and urbane smoker who
would identify with this brand.
Reaction to the cigarette itself is also quite favorable, by and large.
- Many are surprised at its full flavor (considering their expectations
of all new low tar entries).
- The 100 mm. addition would seemingly find increased appeal among
women, who prefer longer cigarettes in general.
Conversion could prove to be somewhat easier than with many new brands.
Since people's regular brands often provide them with a sense of security
Page 10: dkt70e00
and identity, BISTRO can provide a very clear "statement" about the
smoker, and thus may be easier to switch to than all the other "faceless"
(and identity-less) new brands of cigarettes being introduced.
The advertising must not, however, become too witty or too
humorous so as to make identification with this brand "a joke"
and, thus, make a fool of the person who chooses to make this
It HtouZd seem that i;n order for someone to adopt BISTRO as his/her
brand, its distinctiveness and image must not be lost. It must,
however, be made acceptable and legitimate (i.e., not "oddball" or
foolish in any way), a respectable, albeit distinctive, brand to be
It does not appear that a new approach or a dramatic departure
from current advertising is needed yet. The people of Sacramento
are still digesting the basic concept and approach of BISTRO, and
therefore the current campaign seems to be quite successful for
Future advertising and promotional efforts may want to address the
next step in people's adopting this brand as their own by possibly
emphasizing BISTRO's place in the world as a real cigarette.
Sampling in bars, restaurants, discos, etc. (contexts for the brand),
seems to have been quite positive, and may be the way to further
promote the brand. Advertising along this vein could also prove
viable as a means of increasing conversion to the brand.
Finally, the brand would seem to be most appropriate for the larger
metro (sophisticated) markets, rather than trying to appeal to either