January 13, 2022 – Austin, Texas
Southern Draw Cigars is turning to 10,000 of our most loyal consumers, valued retail partners and media members, to select our next new brand.
In a very traditional industry – premium handmade cigars – the company decided to create a very modern Quick Response (QR) portal, accessed from any mobile device, to allow participants to input valuable information including cigar reviews, ratings and recommendations, the very data that will be used to determine a new brand to be launched by Southern Draw Cigars in 2023, with plans for a similar campaign that will bring a follow up launch in 2024. For years, our loyal consumers have offered to test our sample blends, and in some cases, they have smoked a few, but we wish to empower them by harnessing the power of the crowd, to heed their collective feedback and to deliver a product chosen by them, meaning cigar blend, size, and format.
The idea behind this effort was to do something relevant in the industry, something that says, “we hear you; we trust you and we are open to your opinions”, in this case, offering new products that are ultimately determined by the end consumers. While social media has been a powerful tool to reach and communicate with our consumers, the QR code is more intimate and will allow for confidential and direct feedback, each are key to making such an important decision.
An excerpt from our QR survey: PECCADILLOES – “Small Sins” – Over the last 10 – 20 years, for one reason or another, many of our favorite thin or “small” ring gauge cigars, specifically 38 – 46/100ths of an inch in diameter, have vanished from the market. Sure, we enjoy the larger cigars; however, we take a step back in time, honoring tradition and applaud the highly skilled hands that deliver our most consistent smoking experiences, refined skills required to produce some classic small sizes. This opportunity is for those that don’t always demand larger and more powerful, we are returning a focus to the quality of the smoking experience over cost or image. Southern Draw Cigars has kept a secret for years. That secret being the existence of a variety of blends, each has been skillfully rolled in small ring gauges, their purest form. Withholding the existence of these for so long as we grew our brand, we have adopted a project name using the Spanish term Peccadilloes, which translates in English to “Small Sins”.
“We have spent years trying to dream up how best to consider the feedback of those outside the family and partners, not after the fact but rather during the process, going through prototyping and focus groups, enabling for consumer reviews even before the commercial release,” said Robert Holt. “We decided to accomplish that we needed to crowdsource our new product development through our QR code portal and through our popular social media channels to accomplish a couple of goals:
- Shorten the product development lifecycle and limit the project costs by investing in those that have invested in us
- Develop new brands and cigar products that are pre-validated by our consumers because they were determined by the consumers
- Reveal the blend and origin of tobaccos only after the survey is completed, DO NOT skew the data with preconceived notions
Sharon Holt added, “We have relevant, core products, and we have the channels to sell them, to market them, and to distribute them, but we haven’t previously embraced the ideas of those that actually buy, sell and promote our cigars. If this is to truly be a “family affair” we need to incorporate their great ideas, and that’s why we turned to crowdsourcing.”
Southern Draw has decided to offer the PECCADILLOES, 10,000 of four blend mazos or bundles, each cigar enclosed is a classic 6.0×42 corona size produced by hand at Tabacalera AJ Fernandez de Nicaragua, SA, located in the heart of tobacco country in Estelí, Nicaragua. Southern Draw will sellall mazos to our valued retail partners at our cost, whereas they will be able to offer this unique opportunity to their consumers at an enticing MSRP of about $20.00. Profit will take a back seat to the quantifiable value of the consumer feedback. Final pricing will be set at the release date on February 1, 2022, all sales to be offered via our team of brokers, reps, and house retail and distribution accounts. Southern Draw will also distribute PECCADILLOES to each of the media members and media outlets that share the press release or express a desire to participate in the survey in the project if the press release doesn’t fit their own release criteria.
What are the incentives to participate, other than being part of new product development, for that, we offer another excerpt from the QR survey: When the smoke dissipates, and a winning blend, size and format has been determined, we will randomly select the GRAND PRIZE winner from ALL consumers, retail partners and media members who have completed the survey (be sure to add your email address), awarding over $25,000 in prizes from select vendors including BOX #1 signed by the SDC family, an all-expenses paid trip and active participation in the one-of-a-kind launch event as member of the Southern Draw Cigars family and the gratitude of all the humble hard-working hands of Nicaragua that have labored to take a step back in time to the world of “small” ring gauge cigars.