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Jackie Guigui-Stolberg
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Up Yours! The Modern Marketing of an Old-Fashioned Product: Sniffing Tobacco

Munich, Germany Business April 15 @ 3:49pm

Strangely enough, a very old-fashioned, traditional German product has experienced a revival in recent years: sniffing tobacco. Smoking is illegal in public places in Germany, and maybe for that reason, sniffing snuff has come into style again in a big way. Another reason is surely a re-embracing of regional traditions in our globalized, melting-pot world. Like the Oktoberfest itself, snuff is an old Bavarian tradition that is enjoying a comeback. By some estimates, there are as many as a million snuff-users in Germany today. Many villages (including the one in which I live) have snuff-sniffing clubs. Last summer, I covered the Snuff World Championships for Euronews. (http://www.euronews.com/2018/08/01/this-is-what-a-snuff-competition-looks-like) .At the Oktoberfest in Munich, many people enjoy snuff in a wide variety of "flavors" including a startlingly white and powdery version jokingly referred to as "Wiesnkoks" ("Oktoberfest Cocaine"). No worries, however: it's a harmless mixture of dextrose and menthol which some say is simply a welcome refreshment for beer-clouded heads.The Pöschl Tobacco factory (www.poeschl-tobacco.com ), near Regensburg in northern Bavaria, is a family-owned business which was founded in 1902. It controls roughly half the world market for this strange substance. Snuff has been used for over five hundred years. How does Pöschl market its snuff? On the one hand, snuff is sold to traditionalists and nostalgia fans in packaging featuring nineteenth-century-like images. On the other hand, snuff is marketed as a hip, macho, and trendy product, an accessory that might enhance the outfit of any big-bearded hipster in jeans and a flannel shirt, and that of his girlfriend, too. Among the over twenty-five different Pöschl snuff products, there are now even FC-Bayern (soccer team) and Red Bull varieties. In an article about the marketing of snuff I would be interested in finding out how the Pöschl company survives and still dominates the international snuff market. How does the company stay relevant today as a purveyor of a very non-essential product? How can snuff be marketed as "cool" despite the fact that many people find the snuff-sniffing habit rather revolting? Could the current fascination with snuff suddenly "go up in smoke" again?
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