Lorillard announced in the autumn of 2013 that the sales of its electronic cigarette brand ‘Blu Cigs’ now make up about 4% of its total revenue. The e-cigarette brand was very popular prior to the acquisition but benefiting from Lorillard’s well-established chain of distribution and an aggressive marketing campaign featuring even celebrities in their TV ads, it now holds almost half of the US electronic cigarette market. Corroborated with an increase in traditional cigarettes sales, the bald move pushed Lorillard’s total sales up 10 percent, to $1.8 billion in 2013.
Since then, the corporation continued to increase profits with the newly acquired Blu, and the massive funding allowed them once again to expand their cloak even further on the niche market by purchasing U.K. e-cig company SKYCIG.
blu eCigs has hired Lady Gaga for a product placement initiative that it hopes to control the UK market by the end of next year. Jacob Fuller, chief executive of Blu eCigs UK, made the disclosure in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph in which he predicts that ecigs will overtake global tobacco sales by 2034.
‘In the US, Blu is working with Lady Gaga on a video with Blu in it.’
‘It’s a global video that’s going to allow us to piggyback on that brand exposure in the UK.’
‘Kevin Spacey uses Blu eCigs on The House of Cards and it’s been on the David Letterman show. As those episodes make it over here, we’re getting great UK exposure from that.’
‘Blu also uses actor Stephen Dorff as its celebrity spokesman in the US and he came to the UK for our launch.’
E-cigarettes were invented by Hon Lik China back in 2006, and are growing in popularity on a regular basis, with Blu eCigs increasing annual sales from $18m to $200m over the past 18 months.
The brand was launched in the UK in April in a rebranding of the very popular ‘Skycig’, an ecig company co-founded by Jacob Fuller in 2009 after he saw these devices at a trade show in Las Vegas.
‘E-cigarettes are going to revolutionize the tobacco industry like the mobile phone and digital camera have done to telecommunications and film. It’s going to move very, very quickly. People made fun of me five years ago for starting an electronic cigarettes business but look now. They’re everywhere.’ Said Fuller, as global sales of e-cigarettes are currently estimated at about $2 billion.
‘People say that’s astronomical but Blu eCigs did it in the US,’ added Fuller. ‘I think e-cigarettes have the potential to overtake tobacco, which is a $700bn industry.’
‘Tobacco is one of the biggest industries in the world but I’m talking about 20 years from now’
Blu eCigs UK, based in Edinburgh, has 120 employees and 14,000 commercial retailers, including the Co-op, Asda, WH Smith and Morrisons.
E-cigarettes have sparked a lot of controversy since they are unregulated and untaxed in the UK. ‘We believe science will win the debates’ added Fuller ‘E-cigarettes should not be classed as tobacco. They are nicotine delivery devices’ he concluded.