Don't look for Triumph Snus anymore. The rumors that Triumph Snus was discontinued are true. Lorillard confirmed on Monday that they were de-listing the brand, getting out of the snus market altogether, and (here's an original thought) getting into the American Dip market.
Their reasoning is typical Lorillard. They never seriously made an effort to market Triumph snus, never understood the demographic, and never even talked about Triumph on their own creaking circa-1998 Lorillard.com website, let alone put up a consumer website for Triumph Snus. About the only thing Lorillard did right concerning Triumph was to contract with Swedish Match to manufacture Triumph Snus. That contract was terminated by "mutual agreement" on Monday as well.
So now Lorillard is suddenly the expert on American Dip and how to market it. Really. To borrow a quote, this is starting to feel a lot like déjà vu all over again. Is the Triumph Snus Brand Manager (pictured to the left) going to be championing Lorillard American Moist Smokeless Tobacco with the same uncanny market savvy he demonstrated with Triumph Snus? Lorillard has a history of failure with any tobacco product other than cigarettes. Now they are entering the Smokeless Tobacco Vertical. They are the only tobacco company of any size to actually have a Smokeless Tobacco Horizontal.....the coffin they nailed their snus and probably anyone associated with it in.
Welcome to Snus, Snuff and Stuff. First of all, a Thank You to Larry who, after some severe negotiations, has granted me a section of SnusCENTRAL to share my thoughts on tobacco, politics and other things that capture my ADD-riddled attention for more than a few seconds.
I found snus in May of 2008. I learned my daughter has asthma and that spelled the end of my smoking in the house. Instead of giving up nicotine, I decided to see what this new “spit-less dip” was. Triumph Original was my first, followed by Camel SNUS. They were just enough to whet my appetite, and caused me to search the Internet to find out what this snus stuff was all about.
On the morning of July 2nd 2009 (GMT 1), both Swedish Match AB (SMAB) and Philip Morris International (PMI) had issued press releases confirming that SMAB had agreed to sell their South African operations in the form of Swedish Match South Africa (Proprietary) Limited (SMSA) to Philip Morris International [NYSE/Euronext Paris: PMI] for a purchase price amounting to 1.75 billion ZAR (the South African Rand.)
According to Forex Rates on July 3, 2009 11pm GMT, this would translate into $226,390,500 USD, slightly more than "roughly $222MM most often quoted in the press. Regardless; in either Rand, Dollar, or Krona, not a small chunk of change.
In browsing follow up articles to the Press Release on both the wire services and in other media, I was disappointed to find they provided little more than rehashes of the SMAB and PMI press releases.
The all-important WHY would SMAB sell SMSA, WHY would PMI be interested in buying SMSA, and most importantly to me, HOW does this affect Swedish Snus.....they were never addressed or even speculated on in the canned wire reports. More lazy journalism.
The Road Trip to Sweden Series: June 2009, chronicals Larry Waters' diplomatic mission to Stockholm and Gothenburg Sweden. Swedish Match AB "suggested" he come visit them concerning the Joakim/Markus in "alleged" captivity issue and some other things. SnusCENTRAL in Sweden: it wasn't like the old Danish invasions of centuries past, but comes pretty close!
During our tour of the Swedish Match Gothenburg Snus Factory, we were shown a number of places we were not allowed to photograph. For example, this photo is from the upper level shooting down to the Gothenburg factory production floor.
In a diplomatic coup, we were allowed to walk the production floor and get a close-up look at a number of things like how the Star Formations are made and placed in the snus cans. I was actually inches away from the legendary "rewetting process".
Absolutely no pictures were allowed on the production floor. This wasn't necessarily bad as the next photo illustrates how one dresses for a clean room environment. At this point we had left the production floor and taken off our sanitary hats. I won't describe the disinfecting process prior to dressing and there are no pictures of that happening which I know of. I won't even tell my wife the procedure.
They didn't always tell us we couldn't photograph something, but there were many times that as I pulled out my camera, I heard a Swedish Match Security Guard unholstering and cocking his pistol. When I put my camera away, I heard the firearm decocked and reholstered. I caught on pretty quickly.
One of the rooms at the Gothenburg Snus Factory we were not allowed to photograph or film was the Flavoring Room. Here, rows of sealed shiny stainless steel containers labeled with each Swedish Match snus name made in Gothenburg and containing the particular tobacco mix used in that brand received the flavoring which make each so unique.
When is CAMEL Snus NOT Camel SNUS? When Camel Snus is made in Sweden by Japan Tobacco International (JTI); not by R.J. Reynolds in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
NOTE: This is Part 2 of this series on Lorillard Tobacco. Be sure and read Part 1; Lorillard Tobacco: living in the past; ignoring the FUTURE, first.
When I spoke to Ronald S. Milstein; Senior VP, General Counsel, and former member of the Lorillard Tobacco Board of Directors in 2008, in addition to refusing to deny or confirm that Triumph Snus was now low nicotine, asked that I send him any further questions in writing and the Board of Directors will decide whether to answer them or not.
As flattering as that was, it was disappointing as well. Since Swedish Match AB was making Triumph Snus for Lorillard, I was a big fan of, if not it's taste and lack of nicotine, it's real reduced harm aspects. Even the taste was something I could get used to. It would never replace the Swedish/Scandinavian Snus Brands I loved, but I was considering Triumph as a backup bedtime snus. The undenied nicotine manipulation bothered me though. Typical Big American Tobacco. What also bothered me was that the LATEST Press Release on Triumph Snus was dated October 25, 2006.
In October of 2008, I spoke to Ron Milstein; Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Lorillard Tobacco Company. A SnusCENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENT in Sweden had provided bomb-shell information. According to the sources, after the Free Triumph Snus giveaway was over in the two Triumph test markets, Lorillard Tobacco instructed Triumph Snus manufacturer Swedish Match to significantly lower the nicotine levels in Triumph Snus. My report was published on October 29th, 2008.
With Lorillard's Annual Shareholder Meeting taking place soon, I decided in mid-March to follow up and see where Lorillard and Triumph Snus were today. To my dismay, I found a company not looking forward, but still living in the past when Big Arrogant American Tobacco could do no wrong and cigarettes were king.
One of the biggest mysteries for not only myself as a Swedish Snus user, but as someone skilled in marketing, new product launches, and creating new marketing verticles, regarding the "new, overly sweet" taste of the new American Manufactured snus's is simply WHY?
The development, introduction and marketing of an extremely discreet, spit-less alternative to cigarettes makes perfect sense. The outright banning of cigarettes in America is now only a question of 'when', not if. US Tobacco sensibly wants to stay in business and the US State and Federal Government's budgets would collapse without a replacement for the obscene user tax's placed on 46+ million American Cigarette Smokers.
Yes, Virginia, there ARE significant differences in the levels of Nicotine in Swedish Snus and American Snus. It has to do with profit and greed on the part of Big American Tobacco, versus giving consumers what they are asking for by Swedish Snus manufacturers. You can read why in a number of my articles, but THIS ONE boils it down if you're interested....and you should be.
SWEDISH SNUS NICOTINE LEVELS:
Swedish/Scandinavian Snus comes in 5 levels of Nicotine:
Ironically, Swedes prefer the Standard 8 mg. nicotine snus. It was the results of studies and consumer focus groups in Norway and the United States which led to the creation of the Strong and Extra Strong Swedish Snus's.
AMERICAN SNUS NICOTINE LEVELS:
Very little is known about the Nicotine Levels of American Snus as the FDA does not require American Snus manufacturers to disclose it. As of April 1st, 2008, here is all we do know and none has been independently confirmed:
What is emerging is a trend and very different marketing philosophy between America and Scandinavia on the purpose of snus.
American snus manufacturers are concentrating on making 1/2 gram products which are sweet, mild in flavor, low in nicotine, and short lasting which forces the consumer to use many more of their portions than they would of Swedish Snus. The American marketing drive currently is that snus is for when you can't smoke; not to replace cigarettes. The sell them as complimentary products since most of American Snus Companies also make cigarettes as well. The ones that don't are just following along.
Scandinavian Snus; rich in taste, high in nicotine, long lasting; is designed to replace the need for cigarettes. With pouches of most Scandinavian snuses now lasting over 2 hours as compared to the 10 to 30 minutes American snus manufacturers claim for their products, you will have to use considerably more American Snus to maintain your comfort level and will less likely to be able to give up cigarettes complete.
THE ARTICLE mentioned above gives you a quick, but thorough understanding of American Tobacco's motives. Also read the FAQ on TASTE. Drug cartels could learn from Big American Tobacco.
EXCLUSIVE Breaking SNUS News!
It appears that the second of the Top Three US Tobacco Companies has been caught intentionally cutting nicotine levels in their snus products to keep their brand loyal cigarette smokers from being able to stop smoking and switch to snus exclusively...or even possibly use snus to quit tobacco altogether.
The first attempt was by Phillip Morris USA and Marlboro snus. The second appears to be the third largest American Tobacco Company, Lorillard Tobacco Company and Triumph Snus.
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