An old Belgian tin box of Craven A cigarettes
|Owner||Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, a subsidiary of Altria, British American Tobacco|
|Produced by||Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, a subsidiary of Altria, British American Tobacco|
|Previous owners||Carreras Tobacco Company, Rothmans International|
|Tagline||"Will Not Affect Your Throat", "For Your Throat’s Sake"|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Craven A (cigarette).|
Craven A is a British brand of cigarettes, currently owned and manufactured by Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, a subsidiary of Altria in North America and British American Tobacco outside of North America. The cigarette brand is named after the third Earl of Craven in 1860.
After the end of World War I, the cigarette market resumed its normal competitive spirit with the Carreras Tobacco Company once more well to the fore. Baron knew that in order to compete successfully his product had to be better than his competitors' and in 1921 the House of Carreras recorded a first in the industry by launching Craven A, a brand destined to become a household name in over 120 countries worldwide with the now known slogan "Will Not Affect Your Throat". This was the first ever machine-made cork-tipped cigarette, using the name of the Earl of Craven whose family remain close friends of the Rothmans International Group of companies. The 'plain' version of the cigarette was unusual in that, there was at one end a cork tip in place of the paper.
Craven A became such a huge success in the United Kingdom that various cork-tipped brands were launched to compete against it by Imperial Tobacco Company and other tobacco houses. But the competition fell by the wayside and Craven A is still marketed around the world.
At the same time as Craven A was pioneering a new fashion in cigarette smoking, the competition was moving in on the coupon business. But once again, Carreras stayed in front with their well-known coupon brand Black Cat.
The brand enjoyed huge popularity during World War II by not only the British soldiers, but in general. Part of the reason for this is that cigarettes were donated to the war effort by the tobacco industry and they were included in soldiers’ rations. By the time the war was over, many veterans were not only addicted, they were also loyal to a particular brand. When unsettling reports began to surface that smoking could cause lung cancer and other diseases, people began to wonder whether having a smoke was such a good thing after all.
In December 2009, it was reported that Craven A, along with all other cigarettes brands, had their taxes increased. A stick of cigarette went from $25 to $30.
Also during the Second World War, General Charles de Gaulle, in exile in London, had a hard time getting his usual French brown cigarettes brand Gitanes. Not really having a choice, he started smoking Craven A and apparently took a liking to the blond tobacco, which until then had been rare in occupied France.
Craven 'A' began marketing its advertising campaign under the slogan "For Your Throat’s Sake" as early as 1939 – if not before. It had a famous slogan, which was, even in the years after the First World War must have been seen as a blatant lie: "Will Not Affect Your Throat".
Craven 'A' cork tipped cigarettes were advertised as "made from the finest imported matured Virginia tobacco guaranteed pure and absolutely free from adulteration". Adverts for the cigarettes claimed that the cork tips prevented sore throats. Made by Carreras Tobacco Company and later Rothmans International, the company's products were recognisable from the black cat trademark.
Many advertising posters have been made over the years to promote Craven 'A' cigarettes. Some full-page ads also appeared in the New Zealand magazine the "Mirror" in 1930. Like many ads in the years between the two world wars, this one specifically targeted women, who were the growing market. It tried to associate smoking with sophisticated urban taste.
Counterfeit Craven A cigarettes sold in Jamaica
In May 2014, it was reported that Carreras Limited is Wednesday was warning the public of counterfeit Craven A cigarettes which were sold on the market. The company stated in a release that the counterfeit products carried a best before date of July 3, 2015 in gold located at the bottom side panel of each packet.
The counterfeit cigarettes were said to be non-compliant with the labelling regulations in the Jamaican Public Health Tobacco Control Regulations 2013. According to Carreras, customers could identify original products by the graphic pictorial health warnings on 60 per cent of the top front and back panels of the pack, as well as other labelling specifications stipulated in the Public Health Tobacco Control Regulations, which came into effect on April 14. Counterfeit and Illicit cigarette packs continue to bear the previous 30% textual health warnings, making them easier to identify.
Craven 'A' were or still are sold in the following countries: Canada, United States, Jamaica, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Cyprus, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Palestine, Vietnam, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia.
In popular culture
Craven 'A' cigarettes appeared in the James Bond novel Dr. No.
The name of this brand is taken anecdotally in the song Les Bêtises by Sabine Paturel and in "Le Chien" by Léo Ferré. The name "Craven A" is also included in the song "Tendresse et amitié" by Robert Charlebois and the text is written by Réjean Ducharme.
Note that, according to his biographer, Jean Gabin was a regular smoker of the filterless Craven and he alternated with his Gitanes. In the movie Pasha, a package of Craven is visible on the desk of "Commissioner Louis Joss", Gabin, as well as in Le cave se rebiffe.
In the film Death on the Nile, Simon Doyle (played by Simon MacCorkindale), is asked by Monsieur Poirot if his fiancé - the wealthy heiress Linnet Ridgeway - smokes, to which he responds "Just Craven 'A'".
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