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Written by Puff Staff

Wednesday, 07 February 2007

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general cigarindustry updates
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General Cigar is lighting up 2007 with a parade of exciting in-store events and retail promotions debuting in the first quarter of “oh seven.” General Cigar is lighting up 2007 with a parade of exciting in-store events and retail promotions debuting in the first quarter of “oh seven.” With the hustle and bustle of the holidays a thing of the past, General Cigar is doing its part to put a spark into first quarter retail sales. The company is embarking on an assertive schedule of events destined to add a new twist to the concept of “retail-tainment.” Punch, which has been hailed as the most heavily promoted cigar brand in the U.S., will begin the year with three knockout in-store events taking place at select tobacconists across the country: Punch Photo, Punch Poker and Punch Ambassador. For the cigar smoker who enjoys the occasional mug shot, Punch® Photo events are always a hit. At photo events, the consumer becomes the star of the current Punch advertising campaign. After a quick photo is snapped, the consumer’s face is superimposed into the ad which is then printed as a keepsake for the consumer. For this, the eighth straight year of this popular event series, the ads will feature one of several irreverent captions which will appear in a comic bubble over the head of the consumer. As if this weren’t enough of a draw, Punch fans who attend photo events will also enjoy special pricing on select Punch cigars. Approximately 100 Punch Photo events are slated to take place at retail tobacco shops across the U.S. beginning in February. Also beginning in February, a team of Punch ambassadors will bring their unique brand of knowledge to retail during Punch Ambassador events. Extensively trained under the guidance of Cigar Master Estelo Padrón, each ambassador brings first-hand experience in the cultivation and production of the Honduran brand of cigars. During the events, ambassadors wow customers by fielding questions, dispensing valuable information and exhibiting tobacco. Instant prizes are also awarded during the ambassador’s visit, while retailers sell special packs offering the chance to sample three Punch cigars (Punch Magnum, Punch Rare Corojo Magnum and Punch Gran Puro Rancho) for the price of two. General Cigar is willing to bet that Punch Poker will be a big hit at retail again this year. Tobacconist who play their cards right can expect a full house during the events which began this month. Everyone’s a winner at the events -- retailers receive Punch cigars, prizes and customized Punch poker chips – all for free! And customers get a free game night, the chance to win cigars and a complimentary deck of Punch playing cards which are free with the purchase of each special ten-count box of Punch cigars. The odds are that Partagas Roulette Nights are going to pack tobacco shops across the country beginning in February. Participating tobacco retail shops will host a live dealer who will preside over an authentic roulette table and wheel. Customers will be eligible to win free Partagas cigars and the chance to win the evening’s grand prize: a Partagas Roulette prize pack containing customized deluxe Partagas game chips in a branded carrying case. There are even more chances to win during Partagas Roulette Nights, as every customer who purchases a specially-marked, 10-count box of Partagas cigars will receive a deck of limited edition Partagas playing cards absolutely free. The Partagas Quality Tour is out to prove that good taste can be acquired. Legendary Cigar Master Benji Menendez will host special Partagas Quality Nights at select tobacco retail shops beginning in February. Benji will turn cigar aficionados into sages by giving a guided taste test in which filler tobaccos are smoked individually in “fumas.” At the conclusion of the event, Benji will leave behind a group of educated customers who can discern different types of filler tobacco and the way in which they impact a cigar’s taste. Brand loyal Partagas fans will be eligible to win free cigars at the events and can indulge in two outstanding value offers: “Three Rich Taste of Partagas” sample packs which offer three Partagas cigars (Partagas Black Label Clasico and Partagas Naturales and Partagas Spanish Rosado San Agustin) for the price of two, or 25% off special ten-count boxes of Partagas cigars. La Gloria Cubana is bringing a bit of Little Havana to retailers with its La Gloria Cubana® Domino Tournaments which will be held at select tobacconists beginning in March. At each event, General Cigar’s premium event managers become domino instructors who teach the game and hand out complimentary cigars and prizes. Special ten-count boxes of La Gloria Cubana cigars will be available at each participating retail location prior to and during the tournament. If General Cigar’s retail events weren’t enough, the Company has several exciting sales promotions on deck for first quarter. America’s best selling cigar is about to come with a very enticing offer. Passionate Macanudo fans can now own a piece of Club Macanudo, thanks to a dynamic limited-time promotion from America’s beloved brand. Beginning in late February, a sleek black ceramic Club Macanudo ashtray with elegant gold accents will be available free with the purchase of a specially-marked ten-count box of Macanudo Café Hyde Park cigars (SRP $58). Speaking of Macanudo, March will welcome the first allotment of limited edition Macanudo® Vintage 2000 cigars which are doled out only four times per year. Adorned with the most exemplary Connecticut Shade wrapper leaves and protected in crystal tubes, each of the four frontmarks is packed in handsome solid mahogany box and will be available until their limited supply is depleted. Believing that good things come in threes, General Cigar is proud to offer three exciting buy-two, get-one-free offers. Beginning in late February and until supplies are depleted, consumers who enjoy the bold flavor of Bolivar® cigars can score a bargain by purchasing three full-size Bolivar cigars for the price of two. The Bolivar three pack will contain one Bolivar Churchill (7” x 49); one Bolivar Lonsdale (6 ½” x 45) and one Bolivar Toro (6” x 52) and will bear a suggested retail price of just $12.30. Kahlùa® cigars will have their own deliciously-enticing three-cigars for-the-price-of-two offer. Beginning in March, tobacconists nationwide will carry a special Kahlùa three pack, containing one Kahlùa Robusto (5 ½” x 48), one Corona (5” x 42) and one Torpedo (6” x 54). While supplies last, the Kahlùa three-pack will be available for an SRP of $9.60. El Rico Habano® rounds out the trifecta with its own three pack which will be available at retail beginning in early March. For a mere $10.55, consumers can walk away with a variety of favorites from Cigar Master Ernesto Perez-Carrillo. The sampler features the El Rico Habano Corona Suprema (6” x 50) which is included in the pack for free with the purchase of La Gloria Cubana Corona Gorda (6” x 52) and the Maduro version of Serie R No. 5 (5 ½” x 54). For the cigar smoker with a penchant for Honduran cigars, Hoyo Dark Sumatra’s upcoming promotion is sure to delight. A handsome, custom-made wooden box that holds four Hoyo Dark Sumatra® cigars will be available at retail beginning in mid-February. Top-selling Dark Sumatra frontmarks -- Media Noche (5 ¾” x 54); Noche (6 ½” x 52); Ebano (6” x 45) and Espresso (4 ½” x 50) will sell for a suggested retail price of $14.00 while supplies last. Although first quarter is poised to be a tough act to follow, General Cigar promises retailers and cigar smokers a very exciting second quarter as well. About General Cigar General Cigar Co., Inc., a subsidiary of Swedish Match, manufactures and markets handcrafted cigars for the premium market. Passionate about delivering cigars of the finest quality, General Cigar produces Macanudo®, Partagas, Cohiba®, Punch, Excalibur®, Hoyo de Monterrey, La Gloria Cubana and several other industry-leading brands, which are sold through tobacconists nationwide. In addition, the company grows its own proprietary Connecticut Shade wrapper tobacco, as well as natural and candela wrapper in the Dominican Republic. General Cigar also operates Club Macanudo®, a cigar bar in New York City. For more information, please visit www.cigarworld.com ® Punch, La Gloria Cubana, Macanudo, Bolivar, Kahlua, El Rico Habano, Hoyo Dark Sumatra, Cohiba, Excalibur and Club Macanudo are registered trademarks of General Cigar Co., Inc.



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