Benson and Hedges Cigs
Benson & Hedges is an English brand of cigarettes owned by Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco. In the UK they are registered in Old Bond Street in London, and are manufactured in Lisnafillan, Ballymena, Northern Ireland. They are predominantly made from Virginia tobacco.
Benson & Hedges was founded in Canada in 1873 by Richard Benson and William Hedges as Benson and Hedges Ltd. Alfred Paget Hedges succeeded his father in the business in 1885, the same year which Richard Benson left the business and this headquarters was moved to England. The 1900s saw branches of Benson & Hedges Ltd. opening in the United States. In 1928, the American branch became independent, and was bought by Philip Morris in 1958. Benson & Hedges Ltd in the UK was acquired by the Gallaher Group in 1955.
A Royal Warrant was issued to the British company in 1878, after the required five years of supply to the Royal Family. This was revoked in 1999 due to a "lack of demand in the royal households". The Warrant seal, which had previously been on the flip lid of the box, was removed.
In the UK market in the late 1970s, Benson & Hedges ran an advertising campaign which played on the limits of what could be said and shown in cigarette advertisements. A striking series of photomontages and cinema films, devised by Collett Dickenson Pearce, featured the gold pack in various surreal juxtapositions and transformations, devoid of words and people. John Emperor, who was employed by CDP, was the creator of the packet logo.
In 2001, Benson and Hedges changed the packaging from Benson and Hedges special filter to Benson and Hedges Gold, with a slightly different formula and also launched a Silver version, containing less tar and 0.1 less mg of nicotine at a slightly cheaper price. In 2008, Benson and Hedges launched a 14 cigarette pack to be sold alongside its 10 and 20 packs. It also launched a Black version of its cigarettes, but these disappeared in the early 2009. In July 2009, B&H launched a Gold and Silver version of rolling tobacco. It also launched a slide pack for its Silver branded cigarettes.
In June 2010, Benson and Hedges launched the Edge pack, a new style of packaging with edged/curved corners, for its Gold 20 cigarette packs.
Currently, the UK brands are Benson and Hedges Gold, Silver and Benson & Hedges Gold Superkings, as well as its rolling tobacco. Benson & Hedges brands in the UK over the last 40 years have included: Sovereign, Gold Bond, Virginia Red, and Virginia Blue.
As of June 2011, a new brand has been released into the UK market - Benson and Hedges White.
The newest Benson and Hedges brand is the Benson and Hedges Dual flavour cigarette. The packet is designed around the "slide" style seen on the Silver brand, but the Dual cigarette itself has a user-poppable menthol capsule inside the filter. The cigarette can be smoked with a traditional tobacco flavour; however if the capsule is popped then a menthol flavour is released into the filter, turning the cigarette taste from tobacco into menthol. As of October 2012, B&H Duals are available in most franchised "corner shops" at a standard price rate.
In the 1930s, Benson & Hedges Ltd was established by Abraham Wix to handle overseas trade. This branch was acquired by British American Tobacco in 1956. Today, British American Tobacco markets Benson & Hedges throughout Asia and the Pacific, including Australia and New Zealand, but with the exception of Taiwan and the Philippines. The Canadian branch of Benson and Hedges is owned by Philip Morris International.
In Australia, the company's cigarettes are available in the following variations: Classic, Rich, Smooth, Subtle, Fine and Ultimate, in the standard Australian plain packaging for cigarettes.
In Canada, a popular brand is "Belmonts", manufactured by B&H in Toronto.
The United States version of the cigarette, acquired by Philip Morris in 1954, is credited with starting the 1960s 100 mm craze. In 1967, the fledgling and soon to be famous advertising agency of Wells, Rich, Greene introduced the longer cigarette with a Clio award winning advertising campaign (Benson & Hedges 100, Television/Cinema, Best, 1967) based on the "disadvantages" of the Benson & Hedges 100s.