JTI (Japan Tobacco International) has launched one of its most striking initiatives yet in travel retail: the I Camel Dubai Duty Free limited edition.

The concept has been created exclusively for Dubai Duty Free – one of the brand owner’s major global travel retail partners – and is accompanied by a promotion that runs through November and December at Dubai International.

The limited-edition pack and the campaign – the result of a two-year collaboration – were launched at a special event in Dubai’s Jumeirah Creekside Hotel on 18 October. This was attended by senior figures from JTI, Dubai Duty Free management and The Moodie Davitt Report as sole media.

Telling a new story: The I Camel Dubai Duty Free limited-edition activation appears at the retailer’s stores through November and December

JTI Vice President/General Manager Worldwide Duty Free Simon Warburton said: “Dubai Duty Free challenged us to find a way to offer consumers travelling through one of the world’s busiest airports something new, unique, eye-catching and relevant for Dubai.

“JTI’s response, in collaboration with Dubai Duty Free, was to develop an exclusive offer for their customers only. I’m sure the results will be very positive and will drive in-store theatre and excitement. This is a first ever for JTI to put a retailer’s name on one of our products. That is a testament to the strength of the relationship between JTI and Dubai Duty Free.

“This is a first ever for JTI to put a retailer’s name on one of our products” – Simon Warburton, JTI

“We have used Camel, one of our key global flagship brands, for this activation and we’re proud to collaborate with Dubai Duty Free in this way. JTI recognises how important our retail partners are in our success. We believe in this region, we believe in Dubai Duty Free and we have invested in this belief.”

Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman & CEO Colm McLoughlin said: “I’m delighted that for the first time in the brand’s 103-year history Camel has teamed up with Dubai Duty Free to introduce this unique product. 

“JTI has put a huge amount of effort into bringing I Camel Dubai Duty Free to our customers and I know that it will be very well received.”

Breaking new ground: I Camel Dubai Duty Free is one of the biggest campaigns ever by JTI in the travel retail channel

The campaign, one of the biggest that JTI has ever undertaken in travel retail, features the full Camel brand range at Dubai Duty Free. It centres on promotional zones in concourses A and B, both key sales locations for the brand and category.

“Camel has been going as a brand for over 100 years, and this is the first time it has changed the livery on its packaging to incorporate another brand” – Colm McLoughlin, Dubai Duty Free

JTI said that the choice of Dubai Duty Free was a natural one, with Dubai International the number one airport in the world for international passenger traffic, and the retailer a major partner.

Warburton said: “Dubai Duty Free has been a major player in the duty free industry since the early 1980s. Our relationship has grown over the years and Dubai was the right place for this activity.”

McLoughlin said the choice of retailer by JTI was a tribute to Dubai Duty Free’s prominent role in the industry. “I’m thrilled about this development,” he said. “Camel has been going as a brand for over 100 years, and this is the first time it has changed the livery on its packaging to incorporate another brand. I’m thrilled that each of their packs under this new campaign says ‘I Camel Dubai Duty Free’. It’s very significant for us.”

Colm McLoughlin (speaking at the launch event on 18 October): “JTI has put a huge amount of effort into bringing I Camel Dubai Duty Free to our customers and I know that it will be very well received.”

Elaborating on the creation of a bespoke line bearing the company’s name, McLoughlin added: “It satisfies us that our operation is being recognised by our suppliers. We saw it during our 30th anniversary in 2013 when many products were developed specifically for Dubai Duty Free. We encourage that type of partnership now and in future. We can also use this campaign in our own marketing. We can tell the world that this renowned company selected Dubai Duty Free from the entire industry to be their partner. We are very happy about that.”

Warburton said the creativity of the brand over its over 100-year history lent itself to the campaign. He said the initiative would add brand value but also offer “an opportunity to connect with consumers in a busy environment to the benefit of the brand and of Dubai Duty Free as our partner too”.

Simon Warburton: “Airports are unique, they are not the high street, they are not homogenous and we need to reinforce that point of difference.”

Colm McLoughlin: “It will make our customers sit up and recognise that this is something unique”

Crucially, it also underlines JTI’s commitment to the duty free channel, he added. “For the past seven years or so we have been much more active in consumer activations, bringing the brands to life in the duty free environment.

“Every retailer talks about theatre and excitement. Airports are unique, they are not the high street, they are not homogenous and we need to reinforce that point of difference. This kind of activity helps us lift the whole consumer experience, and it helps Dubai Duty Free.”

The campaign should not only elevate awareness of the brand and tobacco category, but should also boost sales across the business at this vital location, said the partners.

“Every retailer talks about theatre and excitement. Airports are unique, they are not the high street, they are not homogenous and we need to reinforce that point of difference. This kind of activity helps us lift the whole consumer experience, and it helps Dubai Duty Free.” – Simon Warburton, JTI

“Warburton said: “We know that tobacco is a footfall driver, and smokers spend more than anyone else in the stores so long as the shop layout is conducive to that. This helps create excitement at the front of the store and acts as a sign-post to consumers that something big is happening, which will ultimately drive basket spend.

“The duty free channel is very important for JTI. We feel this is a very worthwhile investment and is the right channel, with consumers in the right frame of mind who are open to this kind of activity in this exciting environment.”

McLoughlin added: “We will join in marketing for this project and we hope it will encourage people to stop and look and eventually buy, whether it’s in that category or elsewhere.

“It will make our customers sit up and recognise that this is something unique, or even ask why JTI and Camel chose Dubai Duty Free? Our answer of course is that we are the world’s number one location for duty free sales.”

On how the company would assess the success of the campaign, Warburton said: “It’s about engagement with the brand and driving sales for Dubai Duty Free, not only in tobacco but across the entire store.”

On the wider category, McLoughlin said: “Our tobacco sales are up strongly against last year and JTI is playing a big part in that increase.”

Pointing the way forward for partnership: (Left to right) JTI Vice President/General Manager Worldwide Duty Free Simon Warburton; Dubai Duty Free Chief Operating Officer Ramesh Cidambi; Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Colm McLoughlin; and JTI Worldwide Duty Free General Manager UK, Ireland & MENEA Philip Haine at the launch event