Altria Group Inc. continues to focus its efforts on building its premium Marlboro brand which has been under pressure from competitors and lower-priced cigarette brands.
The company has introduced several new products with the Marlboro brand, often with lower promotional pricing. They include "special blends" of both menthol and non-menthol cigarettes to try to keep the brand growing.
In a conference call with analysts Thursday regarding fourth-quarter and full-year earnings for Altria, CEO Marty Barrington discussed Marlboro's brand architecture:
"When we talk about building out the Marlboro architecture, it consists of multiple elements. It's focusing on all of the elements in the value equation. ... You see all of this innovation in the Marlboro space and that's good for the brand. ... What good stewards of wonderful brands like Marlboro are supposed to do. They manage the brand over time, they keep it fresh, they keep it relevant to its target audience, and that's how we've been working on it. ... Overall we're really happy with those product introductions and what they've brought to the brand."