Japan Tobacco International has created its first international design roster to handle projects totalling six figures, following an extensive 25-way Europe-wide selection process.
Three consultancies, including UK-based Nude Brand Creation, have been appointed to the roster, though JTI will not disclose the names of the other two, known to be based in the UK and Milan. The naming of design groups that work with tobacco clients has proved to be highly controversial in the past.
The rostered groups are tasked with carrying out packaging-led projects across JTI’s portfolio, including key brands such as Camel, Winston and Salem. The design work will focus on technical innovation, structural design and strategic consulting. Stéphane Berset, brand manager at JTI, will oversee the running of the roster.
Cigarette packaging design is becoming increasingly ‘critical’ to the tobacco industry, due to the effects of marketing legislation, says Berset. ‘In many countries, only the packaging is left to differentiate the product and convey brand values. How you leverage packaging design, as a strategic communication tool, is important. Structural innovation is becoming more and more of a necessity,’ he explains.
Previously, JTI worked with designers on a project by project basis only. The move to create a design roster is part of a long-term strategy to cut costs, develop closer relationships with consultancies and generate more effective ways of working with design.
Work within the roster has already started, with Nude beginning projects for Camel, Winston, Salem and Mild Seven. The company will continue to work with external consultancies across tactical design projects, such as limited edition and special series packs. The roster will be reviewed in six months’ time, says Berset.
Earlier this year, JTI collaborated with a team of designers and artists to rethink branding for Camel cigarettes, looking at ways to update its visual language, typography, illustrations and colour palettes through packaging (DW 26 May). Path also undertook a packaging redesign project last year (DW 11 November 2004).
2005 – European Union Advertising Directive bans advertising of tobacco products in print media, radio broadcasts and tobacco-related sponsorship for events
2005 – European Commission publishes image library for pictorial health warnings on packs. Not compulsory
2003 – larger health labels, covering at least 10 per cent of the surface, introduced on the side of cigarette packs