The rebranding of Mild Seven to Mevius, currently being carried out around the world, was announced yesterday by JT International Korea, according to a story in the Korea Joongang Daily.
“Since Mild Seven is mainly sold in Asia, we changed the name in order to capture markets such as Europe and the United States,” said Park Pyung-kee, the company’s general manager, during a press conference in Seoul.
The name Mild Seven would seem to run foul of legislation in some countries that ban the use of descriptors such as ‘light’ and ‘mild’.
In any case, the Joongang Daily story made the point that the name change would make little difference to sales of Mild Seven/Mevius in Korea because of government proposals to increase steeply the tax on cigarettes – perhaps from about WON2,500 per pack to WON5,000 per pack over time – and because of boycotts aimed at Japanese goods.
In the meantime, the price of Mevius will remain the same as that of Mild Seven: WON2,700 per pack.
Sadi Bruegger, regional communications director at JTI Korea, said the company understood that tax increases had to be imposed in order to reduce smoking in Korea. “However, what we wish for is a transparent, predictable and moderate increase that will not disrupt the market,” Bruegger added.
Responding to the question of boycotts of Japanese products, the JTI Korea communications manager, Christie Kang, said sales had hardly been affected. “Korean consumers are mature enough to consider quality and service over political issues when it comes to spending,” Kang said.