Classic Filter Kings

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Classic cigarette.JPG
An Indian pack of Wills Classic Regular cigarettes with a picture warning
Product type Cigarette
Owner ITC Limited in India, Imperial Tobacco outside of India
Produced by ITC Limited in India, Imperial Tobacco outside of India
Country India
Introduced 1979; 39 years ago (1979)
Markets See Markets
Tagline "Discover a passion"

Wills Classic (or Imperial Classic is it is known in some countries) is an Indian brand of cigarettes, currently owned and manufactured by ITC Limited.[1] Outside of India, it is manufactured by Imperial Tobacco.[2]


Wills Classic was launched in India in 1979 and was popular in the Metros, especially in the north and east of the nation.[3] At the time the Indian cigarette market was mainly dominated by plains and Regular Size Filter tipped cigarettes, with king size contributing barely 5% of the total market.

Wills Classic grew steadily between 1979 and 1991. The brand was re-positioned in 1994, this also included an increase in length and in diameter of the cigarette. To give the communication an edge, a modern and fresh look was adhered to while polo was chosen to represent the passion and dynamism of the brand. The tag line of Discover Passion was also integrated into the entire Classic package.

This era also saw Classic launch into various brand extensions which included the Milds and Menthol segments to cater to various audiences and it was a start to a new trend in the Classic portfolio. Packaging for each brand was developed with the Classic benchmark, however, colour was used to differentiate between variants keeping the Classic story, values and brand equity intact.[4]

From 1992 to 2004, the inclusion of newer variants saw new blends in the Classic portfolio. The new variants were Classic Milds, Classic Ultra Milds, Classic Menthol.[5]


limited edition packs of Wills "Classic rock"

During the late 1990s the image was changed to something a lot more liberal and global. The cigarette size was increased from 83 to 84mm and the diameter from 24.5mm to 24.75mm. The paper quality was also improved upon.[6] This is where the Classic Polo communications were introduced, with a new slogan: "Discover a passion".[7][8][9]

Venturing into music[edit]

From Polo, the brand ventured into music, this shift gave a brand new ground to be present in giving rise to interesting new packaging, innovative designs, partnerships and more.[citation needed] Limited edition music were produced beginning from 1996/97.

Wills Classic[edit]

Both Wills and Classic enjoyed their time in the market and their respective audiences, however the time had come to create an entity that has the values of them both. This decision gave birth to Classic Wills.

Blue Leaf[edit]

Classic has long used Blue Leaf tobacco, a select range of tobacco that goes into making the entire Classic Range of cigarettes.[10]

Sport sponsorship[edit]

The brand was connected to sponsorships including racing and golf. These were targeted at the Westernized affluent smoker of the SEC A category.[citation needed]


Wills Classic is mainly sold in India, but also was or still is sold in Paraguay, United Kingdom, Hungary, Moldova, Serbia, Albania, Greece, Ukraine, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait and Australia.[11][12][2][13][14][15][16][17]


In the 2000s, ITC Limited launched new variants: Classic Verve, a slim cigarette, Classic Menthol Rush, Classic Riviera Whiff in flavours like orange and lemon, Classic Kafeato, Classic Taste Treasures with a tea flavour.[18][19][20]

Classic introduced capsule cigarettes as well, which are cigarettes which contain a flavoured capsule that can be crushed for an additional flavour. Examples of such cigarettes are Classic Ice Burst, Classic Tangy Burst, Classic Citric Twist and Classic Double burst.

In the late 2000s, Classic also launched an experimental range of flavours like Classic Tangy Twist, Classic Citric Twist and Classic Clove giving an alternative to overseas brands for the Indian audience.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ITC is the market leader in cigarettes in India". Retrieved 27 January 2018. 
  2. ^ a b "Wills". Retrieved 27 January 2018. 
  3. ^ "ITC > Company History > Cigarettes > Company History of ITC - BSE: 500875, NSE: ITC". Retrieved 27 January 2018. 
  4. ^ "Classic -limited edition variants". Retrieved 27 January 2018. 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ "Top 10 Best Cigarette Brands in India With Price 2018 - World Blaze - Part 2". 6 December 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2018. 
  7. ^ "ITC Cigarettes". ITC. 
  8. ^ "7 Best Cigarettes Brands in India". Insider Monkey. May 22, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Indian Cigarette Vintage Ads". At The Edge. 
  10. ^ "Smoking corner! ITC launches Classic Blue Leaf". IIFL. 
  11. ^ "BrandWills - Cigarettes Pedia". Retrieved 27 January 2018. 
  12. ^ "BrandClassic - Cigarettes Pedia". Retrieved 27 January 2018. 
  13. ^ "Classic". Retrieved 27 January 2018. 
  14. ^ "Imperial Classic". Retrieved 27 January 2018. 
  15. ^ "Brands". Retrieved 27 January 2018. 
  16. ^ "Brands". Retrieved 27 January 2018. 
  17. ^ "Brands". Retrieved 27 January 2018. 
  18. ^ "ITC launches 'low smell' cigarettes". Live Mint. 
  19. ^ "ITC Limited - Wysiwyg". 11 December 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2018. 
  20. ^ "Classic -limited edition variants". Retrieved 27 January 2018. 
  21. ^ "ITC, VST Industries rolling out premium variants, smaller-sized cigarettes to protect margins". Economic Times.