Null
Null

Editorial: Why All the Hate?

Null

There has been a disturbing trend lately, a trend that started a few years ago, but has seemed to increase in ferocity recently…

I am talking, of course, about Haters.

Null

Specifically, I am talking about cigar smokers who hate specific brands of cigars, for doing nothing more than (GASP!) marketing their products. The hatred seems to be rampant online, with many self proclaimed disciples decrying the “destruction of a once fine hobby”, the “selling out of cigars” and other such hyperbolic comments…

The anger seemed to come to a head right around the month of October, which also happens to be when Tatuaje Cigars released it’s annual Halloween themed cigar (last year was the Drac, this year will be Leatherface). More and more people were (and are) decrying Tatuaje’s Pete Johnson’s and other companies marketing tactics, with some BOTLs even going so far as to say he is “single handily destroying the industry”…

What total and complete B.S.

As I am sure most of you are aware, marketing your products has been around ever since the first person on earth figured out that he/she could get something they wanted in exchange for something they had…And it does not stop there. Marketing is a part of our lives, indeed, a part of our very civilization, and it seems to me that a few of the “New Breed” of cigar companies are taking advantage of it…

The interesting part of the conversation is that marketing of cigars is nothing new. Check out this magazine cigar ad from way back when…

Caveman Cigar.png

(photo from http://retrozone.tumblr.com)

 

And this TV ad from the late ’60s (who doesn’t love Muriel?):




Now, having said all of that, I agree that sometimes marketing can go too far…Take the Classic example of Marketing Excess, Gurkha Cigars…They came on the scene in 1995 with the tagline “The Rolls Royce of Cigars”. Opulent packaging and overwhelming advertising rocketed them to success (in business, mind you), but it seems now that to everyone who knows even a little bit about cigars, they have become a joke in the industry…But think about this…how many cigar smokers FIRST real cigar is a Gurkha? Mine was…

Another thing I hear complaining about is all of the Limited Edition cigars that are being released…From Cain to Rocky Patel to Tatuaje to Habanos, the Limited Edition cigars have been released in ever expanding waves in the last few years, with many people pointing to this as a prime example of an industry on the downturn…But, I ask you, why do you think that? Just because a cigar manufacturer releases a LE cigar (let’s say, 200 boxes of a specific blend or vitola), does that mean you HAVE to buy it? Of course not. I for one want MORE LE cigars released, by ALL manufacturers…While they can be (admittedly) harder to keep track of, that means there are more cigars for me to try, more blends for me to love (or hate) and more importantly, more reason for more people to become cigar smokers…

Another advantage to the LE cigars is the fact that it is allowing cigar makers to try out new combinations and blends that would have otherwise NEVER been produced…Take for example, the Tatuaje SW Maduro (which I also named as my #1 Cigar of 2009)…Pete Johnson produced this Limited Edition cigar in tribute to a friend (who came up with the idea before he died) with all the money from the sales going to his family…Now, I think it is pretty cool that we have the chance to smoke a cigar that was basically produced solely in memory of a friend, and the sales of which actually went to a great cause…

Another example is the upcoming new Illusione Lancero in with both Maduro and Candela wrappers…The fact that they are releasing only a limited number of cigars allows them to experiment with combinations (when is the last time a Major cigar manufacturer made a cigar with at Candela wrapper?) that would have never seen the light of day…This means more choices for us, the consumer, and more choices are NEVER a bad thing…

That is not to say that there is not a downside to the above, of course…the ever expanding LE market CAN bring down the overall quality of a company’s products (I am looking at you Gurkha and Habanos!)…And the prices of an LE cigar can get out of control **cough** Cohiba Gran Reserva**Cough** But just the fact that a cigar manufacturer releases an LE cigar or pushes the envelope a bit with marketing is not a good reason to hate them or their products…

The Bottom Line? Cigar blenders (and even cigar marketers) are artists, and should be treated as such. Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they fail, and sometimes they take it too far, but they should NEVER be derided for TRYING to do things a bit differently…after all, without evolution there is stagnation, and I think everyone can agree that is the LAST thing cigar lovers want in this day and age.

Null
Brooks Whittington
About the author

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

Related Posts

Null