Beginning with this week, convenience shops across Ontario, Canada, can commence marketing Gangnam style cigarettes.
On Feb. 15, Canadian Tobacco and Global Inc., an Ontario cigarette wholesaler composed of 38 Korean-Canadian convenience shop keepers, will launch three cigarette brands, such as Gangnam, which company President James Kang claims is not referred to as after the extremely popular song by South Korean rapper Psy.
Though the current popularity of “Gangnam Style” will potentially attract attention to the new cigarette product, which is produced by a Canadian company Kang won’t determine, he explains that even the record takes its name from a prestige neighbourhood in Seoul.
Among people acquainted with Korean culture, he says, the name Gangnam would speak out loud in any case.
“Gangnam Style’ song is quite popular, but Gangnam (the neighbourhood) is well-known in Korea, too,” Kang stated.
Kang says that the company representatives examined nearly 100 names for the three cigarette brands before deciding on “Midas,” “C38” and “Gangnam,” though he says the product isn’t focus on particularly at the Korean-Canadian population.
“The company gives attention to all the convenience shops,” Kang said, mentioning that he is going to spread the new cigarette brands to 8,000 convenience shop across the province.
Kang says that the company was created two years ago, when he and 37 other Korean-Canadian convenience shop keepers, disappointed at the amount they were paying for cigarettes from Ontario’s tobacco manufacturers, established a cigarette wholesale company.
A news release marketing the reveal of the new cigarettes talks about them as “premium products” hitting the market after about 18 months of examining.
Using appealing pop-cultural gadgets to sell cigarettes has backfired in the past.
In the late 1980s, Camel cigarettes presented the mascot Joe Camel in print and billboard advertisements, but was later sued by anti-smoking supporters who suggested Camel used a cartoon character to popularize their cigarettes among youngsters to buy them lawfully.
Camel ultimately settled the claims out of court and abandoned the Joe Camel mascot.