Consumers to Choose New Punch Figurado Blend in Punch Heavyweight Title Promotion

Villazon & Co. has launched the "Punch Heavyweight" promotion, whereby two specially created Punch figurado cigars will vie for consumers' votes to determine which is the "better" cigar.

Consumer will be asked to cast a vote for the more flavorful of two contending cigars, each of which has been created with its own "power packed" blend. The blend voted "best" will be declared the Heaveyweight Champion and will be added to the Punch product line in August. The new Punch figurados are only available through a special two-package during the promotion, which is scheduled to run from July 1st through July 31st, 2001.

Consumers receive the free two-pack of cigars when they purchase any four Punch or other General Cigar Company cigars. They can vote for the cigar they think packs the most "punch" by mailing in an enclosed postage-paid ballot. Consumers will be informed of the promotion through print ads, retail POS, and a special section on www.cigarworld.com.

"We have two great new figurado cigars, each worthy of the name Punch, but there can only be one champion," said Whit Beebe, director of marketing for Villazon. "With a name like Punch, why not let consumers duke it out to decide which one will be victorious?"

All mail-in voters will automatically be entered into a sweepstakes for the chance to win a box of the new cigars. The first 25 boxers will be given away through the sweepstakes; consumers can learn more about by visiting www.cigarworld.com.

Villazon & Co., 355 Chestnut Street, Norwood, NJ 07468, Tel: (800) 526-4653.

Free Personalized Cigars in Excalibur Promo

Consumers can obtain two free personalized Excalibur 1066 King Arthur cigars when they buy any other two Excalibur cigars.

The "Excalibur Personal Cigar Offer" promotion, launched in May by Villazon & Co., takes a cue from "chivalry practiced by King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table" by encouraging consumers to give a friend a free personalized Excalibur cigar: One cigar will be personalized with the purchaser's name, the other with the name of a friend.

The special offer, which is available through local local tobacco shops, is scheduled to run from June 1st through July 30th. Marketing support includes print ads, retail POS, and General Cigar's website, www.cigarworld.com

Consumers enter the promotion by completing and mailing a postage paid card attached to print ads and point-of-sale material at retail, or by completing online entry forms. At the end of the promotion, Villazon will ship the two free cigars in a handsome, specially-constructed wooden box to the local participating retailer. Entrants will be notified by mail or email that their cigar is ready for pickup. "We wanted to be true to the heritage of the Excalibur cigar and offer a promotion that embodies the chivalrous origins of its namesake," said Whit Beebe, director of marketing for Villazon. "For a cigar connoisseur, there is no greater courtesy than to pass along a free cigar to a friend. The fact that the cigars are customized makes it even more special."

Villazon & Co., 355 Chestnut Street, Norwood, NJ 07468, Tel: (800) 526-4653.

La Luna Debuts Two Smaller Packages
Gaeluna International, Ltd., now offers its two lines of La Luna premium cigars in lesser-count packages, suitable for sampling by consumers. The cigars are currently available in two lines: La Luna Maduro Fuerte and the newly-released La Luna African Fuerte. Each is now packaged in two new sample presentations.

La Luna "6-cigar Samplers" are Spanish cedar boxes with hinged lids, containing one each of the six sizes of the cigar. Suggested retail for these sample packs is under $40.

La Luna "Mini-Cabs" (for miniature cabinets) are Spanish cedar cube-shaped boxes with sliding lids, and hold fifteen cigars, all of one shape. Mini-Cabs retail for $45 (Maduro Fuerte Colada, 4 x 44) to $74.25 (African Fuerte Luna Park, 6 x 52).

"The idea for our 6-Cigar Samplers and Mini-Cabs," reports Gael de Courtivron, company president, "is to give the undecided smoker a chance to either try one of each size, or to try several cigars of one size, without having to commit to a full 30-cigar box purchase."

La Luna cigars are made in Danli, Honduras, and fill the emerging demand for powerful, full-flavored cigars. Both the Maduro Fuerte and African Fuerte are available in Corona, Torpedo, and short and long Robusto and Perfecto shapes. They both combine Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Costa Rican fillers with Honduran binder (Maduro Fuerte) and Mexican binder (African Fuerte). The Maduro Fuerte has a Costa Rican wrapper; the African Fuerte uses genuine African Cameroon wrapper.

All La Luna cigars retail for less than $5.00, at keystone discount.

Gaeluna International, Ltd., 1638 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33135, Tel: (305) 644-0444, Fax: (305) 644-0431, Web: www.lalunacigars.com

Natural American Spirit Ultra Lights Now in Hard Packs

In response to consumer requests, Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. is now offering its Natural American Spirit Ultra Light Filter Cigarettes in hinge-lid hard packs. The line extension was originally launched in 1999 in soft packs.

Unlike most other ultra light cigarettes, which contain only small amounts of whole leaf tobacco and relatively high levels of reconstituted sheet and expanded tobacco, Natural American Spirit Ultra Lights are made with high-quality, 100% additive-free whole leaf natural tobacco. The cigarettes deliver the brand's characteristically rich, natural tobacco flavor, but by utilizing a highly porous cigarette paper, a ventilated filter wrapper, a perforated tipping paper, and a specially-designed filter, Natural American Spirit Ultra Lights are lighter tasting with lower levels of "tar" (7 mg) and nicotine (.9 mg).

The ultra light category accounts for almost 15% of all cigarette sales and continues to grow, notes the manufacturer. Natural American Spirit Ultra Light filter cigarettes in hinge-lid hardpacks provides retailers and distributors the opportunity to increase sales.

Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co., PO Box 25140, Santa Fe, NM 87504, Toll-free: (800) 982-7454.

Nat Sherman Luxury Cigarette Display

A pure dozen: That's how many facings of Nat Sherman cigarettes will fit in the company's new luxury display. Twelve of Nat Sherman's best-selling cigarettes can be prominently displayed in a space approximately 13 inches wide by 10 inches deep. Retailers can establish a category of all-natural luxury cigarettes that will help enhance profits. This fully-enclosed counter case gives retailer an opportunity to cash in on the growing trend towards "quality over quantity" in the cigarette segment. For more information, contact one of Nat Sherman's service consultants.

Nat Sherman, Inc., 629 West 54th St., New York, NY 10019, Tel: (212) 246-5500, Toll-free: (800) 221-1690, Fax: (212) 246-8639.

Brown Leaf "Free Box of Cigars" Offer
Smokeshops that buy ten boxes of the new Yumuri Colorado premium cigars are entitled to a free box of cigars, in a new promotion from Brown Leaf Company.

Dominican-made Yumuri cigars have outscored some of the most notable national brands in cigar ratings, and the new Colorado line is enjoying similar customer enthusiasm. The cigar is a true puro, with filler, binder, and wrapper from the Dominican Republic's Cibao Valley. The wrapper is an eye-catching burgundy rosado hue that is the leaf's natural color. Wrapper and binder are grown from Corojo 2000 seed, just now appearing outside of Cuba. All the tobacco is grown from first generation Cuban seed, which remains pure to the original strain.

Retailers may combine any of the shapes of the Colorado to qualify, and this gives them free choice of any cigar Brown Leaf imports: Yumuri cigars, including the new Yumuri curly-head Populares, as well as Villega Reales and Francisco Hernandez lines.

Yumuri Colorado long-filler, all handmade premium cigars come in Corona, Robusto, Toro, Lonsdale, Churchill, and Pyramid. Cedar boxes of 25 cigars retail from $4.75 (Corona) to $7.00 (Pyramid), at keystone discount. The promotion runs through August, 2001.

Brown Leaf Company, 382 Gunter Ave., Guntersville, AL 35976, Tel: (256) 582-0210, Fax: (256) 582-0210, Web: www.yumuri.com

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