KENT -- The Safer Cigarette Myth

Internal P. Lorillard Company Memorandum

TO: M. J. Cramer, President, Chief Executive Officer
FROM: M. Yellen
SUBJECT: Lorillard Sales Position
DATE: September 15, 1964

Summary of Image
Page One
Comprehensive letter pertaining to the sales position of the various cigarette brands
How did we get here?
What are we doing here?
Where are we going from here?
KENT as as "safer" cigarette
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Summary of Image
Page Two
Not all smokers are sensitive to smoking and health...
Greater majority of smokers smoke for "taste and pleasure"
Smokers' "sensitivity" to health is wearing off
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Summary of Image
Page Three
Release of Surgeon General's (SG) Report negatively affects every brand on market except two
Endorsement of LARK cigarette more harmful to KENT than SG's Report
LARK designed to dethrown KENT in "safer cigarette area"
LARK marketed through hospitals and medical profession
LARK endorsed by reputable member of medical community and member of SG's Committee
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Summary of Image
Page Four
National media not used to exploit LARK connection to Surgeon General's Committee
Advertising placed "The Statement" in many newspapers throught country
Due to this, LARK increased sales while KENT lost 20%
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Summary of Image
Page Five
Goal is to successfully execute the campaign of "health"reassurance
Definite relationship bewttn the selling of the merchandise and corporate profits
KENT will continue to grow to greater levels than it has ever seen in the past
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Summary of Image
Page Six
About the NEWPORT brand cigarette
Original advertising budget (in 1956) was "only $900,000.00"
KOOL cigarettes had a therapeutical image
NEWPORT branded as a "fun cigarette"
NEWPORT appealed to youth as well as an "inmature group" of smokers
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Summary of Image
Page Seven
Should devise new campaign more effective relative to Surgeon General's Report
NEWPORT was able to reverse declining trend
With "proper execution", NEWPORT will grow to 14 - 15 billion cigarettes sold annually
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Summary of Image
Page Eight
"Trying times" can be overcome with clear thinking
Greatest danger is to press the "panic button"
Philip Morris (PM) operates "much more intelligently"
PM "eased" brand into market using simple paragraph "pertaining to Surgeon General's Committee (definitely in violation to the proposed advertising code)"
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Summary of Image
Page Nine
Reports state Cigarette Industry regained volume lost to Surgeon General's Report
I do not agree with these financial reports
We are "not committing marketing sins" we may have to pay for in the future
Prepare to market products in a new smoking category when the proper time arrives
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"As all of us are aware, KENT was marketed as a 'safer' cigarette for the smoker who was concerned about smoking and health. In 1956 when an innocent third party (Reader's Digest) created an awareness to the consumer that KENT was the 'safest' of all popular filter cigarettes, Lorillard exploited this advantage so that within a short period of two years the KENT volume grew from less than four billion cigarettes to thirty-eight billion annually."

"Between the years of 1956 and 1960 several competetive brands appeared on the market in an attempt, with substantial advertising budgets, to erase the 'KENT image of safety.' These brands were HIT PARADE, LIFE and DUKE. It was the decision of management to immediately fight back, whenever brands competetive to KENT appeared on the scene with hard-biting copy in order to retain the 'KENT safety image,' and protect Lorillard's 'bread and butter' brand."


"...the technique used in the marketing of LARK through hospitals and the medical profession was exactly similar to that used in the marketing of KENT in 1952. For several months prior to the release of the Surgeon General's report LARK was setting a base for future sales activities through the use of hospitals via rumors or otherwise (Buffalo and Houston) that medical scientists endorse LARK as the safest cigarette. This marketing technique on the part of LARK proved successful, and the sales of LARK surpassed those of KENT in the Buffalo area and came very close to it in the Houston area."

Anne Landman
American Lung Association of Colorado, West Region Office
Grand Junction

Type of Document: Memorandum (Lorillard), Market Research Report
From: M. Yellen
To: M.J. Kramer, President and CEO
Date: September 15, 1964
Subject: Lorillard Sales Position


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