Commonwealth-Altadis Debuts Glide Tec Innovation

New USA Gold packaging goes national this summer

Melissa Vonder Haar, Freelance Writer

Commonwealth-Altadis USA Gold Glide Tec (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Tobacco)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Commonwealth-Altadis Inc. has launched what senior vice president of consumer marketing Al Dejewski has described as "the first hard pack innovation in over 50 years" in the form of Glide Tec: a sleek new packaging design for the company's USA Gold cigarette brand that allows consumers to "slide up, light up," making the 20 cigarettes readily accessible with the slide of a thumb.

The colors of the American flag are front and center on the USA Gold Glide Tec pack.

"It's the most significant launch in packaging for USA Gold in Commonwealth-Altadis' history," president and CEO Kevin Freudenthal said during a press conference. "From a strategic position … we're launching innovation to create some excitement for adult smokers."

Innovation, differentiation and consumer awareness have been central, not just to the development of Glide Tec, but to Commonwealth-Atladis' strategy overall--especially when it comes to USA Gold. Since joining Commonwealth-Altadis last year, Dejewski said the company has been "maniacally focused" on understanding and aligning with the modern today's 21-to-39-year-old consumer.

"Commonwealth-Atladis is not one of the biggest manufacturers in the market, and that's something we're embracing … for the time-being," said Greg Moser, vice president of trade marketing. "As a challenger in the category, we need to look at the category differently and the way we approach consumers."

The company re-launched USA Gold last January with those consumer insights in mind, which Dejewski reported has led to an acquisition of new consumers over the last six months, with share gains within eight of USA Gold's top 10 markets.

Dejewski added that the newly announced Glide Tec packaging was "the logical next step in the brand-building effort for USA Gold."