Blu can no longer rest on their laurels, not with Big Tobacco entering the electronic cigarette industry in the form of Vuse and MarkTen. When Lorillard bought the small ecig startup, they punched a ticket to domination in an industry that was barren of big money players. But the money began rolling in, the electronic cigarette ads began to become higher priced, and all of a sudden Blu Cigs wasn’t even the top selling national brand. The days of little competition were over and since then Blu has been making an effort to push back, the latest with the help of model Zara Martin.
If branding is the name of the game, then Blu Cigs has always been an all-star. They have been able to penetrate the market in the US in a way few have, but of course a lot of that had to do with all the Big Tobacco money they had to throw around. So it shouldn’t surprise us that they’ve been out to do the same thing in the UK. We could definitely see this coming since Lorillard purchased SkyCigs in 2013 and eventually rebranded it as Blu Cigs. The UK opened up a whole new market and millions of smokers looking to make the switch.
Using celebrities in electronic cigarette ads wasn’t new to Blu either, as they had famously picked up Stephen Dorff as their spokesperson. In the UK, they’ve turned to fashion model Zara Martin to add some oomph to their new campaign, called “Taste The Summer”. In one of the many professional photographs produced, Zara is shown holding a Blu Plus, the tank-type system Blu Cigs released late last year. She sports a rich blue lipstick and matching nail polish in one picture, and is shown with a blue drink in a martini glass in another. Clearly they want to get all that they can out of this arrangement with Ms. Martin!
Zara Martin Likes The Blu Cigs Option
Herself a smoker, Zara Martin uses her position as a model in the UK to push the Blu Cigs brand and vaping in general. She was quoted in the Daily Mail saying, “As a smoker, I like having the option to vape without the ash, smell or tar.”
We’re hoping Martin takes it upon herself to really make the switch.
After all, everyone knows how bad traditional tobacco cigarettes are for your skin and teeth. Given that these are integral elements of a model’s ability to sell themselves along with the products they represent, we would think this is a logical move for her.
Regardless of what Ms. Martin decides to do, what is interesting to us is how Blu Cigs is continuing with an apparent strategy to target he hip and cool. This was the case even early on, as CEO Jason Healy tending to steer the product image in that direction. Blu was supposed to be cool and trendy, something that young people would feel great using and even be rewarded with those imaginary social points. The next step was to take it to the celebrity level and bring on people like Dorff, and later Jenny McCarthy, to pitch their vapor products.
All of that really got into high gear when Blu Cigs was sold to Lorillard and the influx of Big Tobacco money came in. So even with the increased competition and dwindling market share, Blu seems to be intent on using the same stylish aspects of vaping to make their point. While that has brought them into the limelight so far, we wonder if it is enough. Along with Vuse and MarkTen, they also must battle a growing trend of people heading for open systems. That is a movement they have to contend with, and Blu Plus was essentially their answer to it. For now.
But all the marketing magic that this giant has up their sleeves. The proof is in the pudding, as it always is. Somehow they need to turn their prowess into greater advancements and even better products. While Blu Plus has certainly made an impact and brought them closer, it hasn’t been the gamechanger that they were hoping for.
Branding is important, and pretty faces like those of Zara Martin help, but vapers and current smokers alike are looking for satisfaction. It is the same in the UK market as it is in the US. For Blu Cigs to get back on top, they’ll need to give consumers a product that will knock their socks off. We’re all waiting to be blown away by great vapor products, regardless of where they come from.