General Cigar and Macanudo Case Study

Macanudo Cigar Brand Extension

General Cigar Company, the largest manufacturer and marketer of premium, imported, hand-made
or hand-rolled cigars, wanted to build an exclusive lifestyle experience around their brand Macanudo (one of the best hand-rolled Dominican Republic cigars available today) and have it supported by luxury product development and a communications strategy that targeted the luxury baby boomer audience.

Key Issues

No other brand in this category had ever attempted to build a lifestyle around a brand so the waters were uncharted.


The Cullman Family, which owned General Cigar at this time, had been in the Connecticut tobacco industry since 1848.And although Ma- canudo has a Dominican Republic tobacco ller, the wrapper leaf, which gives this cigar 90% of its overall avor, is Connecticut Broadleaf grown on Cullman farms in Connecticut. For all intents and purposes, this was a premium American cigar.The lifestyle brand was built on this heritage.


The Macanudo lifestyle communications strategy was launched in 1993 resulting in an increase in cigar sales of 10% percent.The lifestyle products were launched increasing cigar sales by an additional 12%. Sales continued to grow at
33% in 1995 to 36% in 1996 with the
opening of physical Club Macanudo Cigar Bars in New York City, Chicago and Miami. In 2002, Swedish Match bought 64% of General Cigar Holdings, Inc.

Brand Identity

The brand identity was based
on a modern “cattle brand” with typography that supports the brand lifestyle attribute of masculine urbane.


Consumer Ads

Consumer ads were created to support the Macanudo lifestyle and placed in publications that targeted the audience such as Cigar A cionado, NewYorker, and the Atlantic.

Influencers and Commissioned Artisans

American artisans were commissioned to help create Macanudo lifestyle products that supported the brand expression.

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