E-Cigarettes: British American Tobacco
British American Tobacco (BAT) was the first tobacco company to launch an e-cigarette in the UK in July 2013, calling it Vype'. The e-cigarette was developed by CN Creative, a start-up company acquired by BAT in December 2012. When the e-cigarette was launched, CN Creative was merged with BAT Research and Development and Nicoventures set up by BAT in 2011 to develop nicotine replacement therapy products. The merged company continued under the name Nicoventures Holding Ltd.
Launching Vype Online
BAT released Vype e-cigarettes in July 2013, first for sale online only. The first roll-out of internet sales was to be in the UK, Germany and France. BAT intended to become a leader in the e-cigarette market, Kingsley Wheaton, BAT’s director of corporate affairs, said when presenting company’s half year financial results in July 2013:
"Our declared intent is to be the leading player in [the e-cigarette] business. The market is currently small and fragmented but showing movement, creating a buzz. [...] For us it’s a natural extension of where we are trying to go in harm reduction. We believe it will create profitable growth over time."
Vype: Experience The Breakthrough
The last two months of 2013 saw an advertisement campaign worth £3.6 million running in the UK – Experience The Breakthrough – involving press, digital and outdoor ad campaigns which aimed to build awareness of Vype as an alternative to smoking tobacco. The campaign was developed by iris worldwide (spelled without caps, slogan: We create Participation Brands). At the launch Philippe Zell, Global Sales & Marketing Director of Nicoventures Holding, stated that there was still confusion about the category, about how to put the product in the market. Steve Bell, CEO Iris London explained how this element of newness and ambiguity was translated:
"At the heart of this campaign is a product that represents breakthrough and transformation. We have visually represented this as an arresting image to allow adult smokers to decide for themselves what that breakthrough means; and be encouraged to open up and try e-cigarettes. We know from our research that smokers will interpret the breakthrough at a category, brand or personal level. Our aim is for this audience to understand that they can leave ‘old smoking’ behind and Vype is better than anything else on the market."
- For more detail, see: E-cigarettes: Marketing
High Street Deals
In November 2013, BAT announced that in 2014 Vype would be sold at several of the main British supermarkets and shops at petrol stations. The deal included Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Shell, McColl’s and Spar. LloydsPharmacy started to sell Vype e-cigarette at its 1,500 branches in January 2014.
Voke and eVoke
In September 2014, BAT was granted a license by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for Voke, a nicotine inhaler developed by a company called Kind Consumer Limited, a subsequent license was granted in 2016 for a product called e-voke which is rechargable and uses nicotine cartridges. As of June 2016 neither of these products were available for purchase.
Aquisition of Ten Motives
In 2015, BAT acquired Ten Motives e-cigarette brand in the UK.
Aquisition of CHIC
In 2015, BAT acquired CHIC, the market leader e-cigarette business in France.
BAT launched glo iFuse, a tobacco heat not burn’ product, in Romania in November 2015. According to an article in the industry magazine, Tobacco Reporter, iGlo was launched in Romania because BAT products were commonly smoked but the vaping market was considered underdeveloped.
Other TobaccoTactic Resources
- Companies House, Nicoventures Ltd, latest entry 2 December 2013, via search for Nicoventures Ltd at Companies House Webcheck, accessed January 2014
- Companies House, Nicoventures Holding Ltd, latest entry 21 January 2014, via search for Nicoventures Holding Ltd at Companies House Webcheck, accessed January 2014
- Reuters, France To Ban Electronic Cigarettes in Public, Huffington Post', 31 May 2013, accessed 11 June 2013
- J. Titcomb, BAT plans to dominate e-cigarette market, the Telegraph, 31 July 2013, accessed December 2013
- LBBOnline.com,Multi-million pound campaign by iris London. Vype E-Cigarettes 'Experience the Breakthrough', 11 November 2013, accessed December 2013
- R. Hegarty, E-cigarette Vype from Nicoventures secures raft of listings, the Grocer, 10 November 2013, accessed December 2013
- PJ Online, Boots and Lloydspharmacy join the vaping fold by selling e-cigarettes, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, 13 February 2014, accessed February 2014
- G. Thesing, BAT to sell Voke tobacco substitute after UK medical approval, Business Week, 12 September 2014, accessed July 2016
- D. Deans, E-cigarettes ruling could pave the way for them to be prescribed by GPs in Wales, Wales Online, 5 January 2016, accessed July 2016
- R. Burrows, Speech by BAT's Chairman at its Annual General Meeting. 27 April 2016
- BAT, E-cigarettes and other Next Generation Products, accessed June 2016
- S. Rossel, Fun in harm out, Tobacco Reporter, 1 February 2016, accessed June 2016