McDonald Vapor (MVx) was founded under the principle that over time, legislation and emerging science concerning VNPs (vaporized nicotine products) would drastically undermine analog cigarette sales. Our team suffered no illusion; meaningful transition would be turbulent, all but immediate, and established distribution networks held significant advantage.
Borrowing from our greater conglomerate’s experience (since 1986) in successfully navigating many radically transforming, unfavorable markets, oftentimes requiring adherence to stringent regulation, we sought to create a product desirable to consumers who, in large part, didn’t yet exist:
Adult ex-smokers having used VNP products for sufficient duration, no longer interested in disposable, cigarette-similar hardware.
These populations are commonly described as:
Semi-Established → Established Users
within the broader category and their proclivity to purchase based on sensation (or rather: excitatory novelty) is well documented.
Having devoted significant funds toward research & development, the first McDonald Vapor products were made available in test markets December 2015. Retail feedback further informed our design and flavor catalogue, as did conversations with current nicotine users who: broadly desired to quit conventional cigarettes; had previously attempted established cessation methods (gum, patch, etc) with no success; and those with no desire to transition or quit smoking. In early 2016, slight cosmetic changes were made. To be clear: Our products in current iteration were on shelves throughout the United States prior to 8/8/16. We pledge to self-finance PMTA, regardless of cost.
And in our segment, it’s vital. Unthinkingly, the majority of early participants (those eligible for similar privileged status) largely overlooked thematic elements beyond generic, hurried graphic artwork. Budget-priced bottle types in limited designs were and continue to be ubiquitous within the marketplace. What’s worse, varieties such as Boston round are prone to tipping over, especially during hardware fill, increasing the likelihood of preventable exposure. McDonald Vapor’s striking matte-black bottles:
- inhibit UV degradation
- provide a triangular, more stable platform (mitigating spills & leakage)
- offer stimulating appeal while attempting to dissuade youth uptake (bottle physiognomy & design not associated with food products).
Design elements and brand perception were tirelessly considered, second only to sterile production environment. Competing brands’ complacent approach contributed somewhat to McDonald Vapor’s continued favorable consumer response. In fact, surveyed retailers stocking MVx products found meaningful consumer interest in the first week, meaningful new traffic uptick within five weeks, and recurring sales through observed period. This seems intuitive when considering our segment’s described flaws.
Why so Few Flavors?
Retailers’ Limited Shelf Space
Brands offering many products (flavors) in many nicotine varieties & bottle sizes contribute to an overwhelming VNP-centric retail experience. What’s more, SBO retailers often incur unnecessary debt to stock new product lines. This manifests in stagnation, mark-downs, and consequent price deflation.
Established Phenomenology of Behavior
As mentioned above, excitation drives initial sales. This simple truism coupled with more involved consumer engagement principles heavily influenced our brand’s development. As thousands of flavor varieties exist, many similar in taste, presentation is often motivation for purchase.
interest in subpar core products = hurried new flavor releases to compensate = diminished interest in brand overall
As nascent industries evolve, so do retailers. Our products offer per-1 cartons, obfuscating the bottle’s design entirely aside from slinder viewing window, yet familiar enough to vapor users and cigarette smokers alike to garner interest. Nicotine strengths (0, 3, 6, 9, 12) aim for moderate preference mobility.
As government intervention weeds out nearly everyone, so too will it cleanse the market of unscrupulous opportunists peddling blatantly juvenile products. Regulation legitimizing VNP will further influence where vapor products are, or could potentially be, sold. It’s unlikely that childish depictions of food products fare well as our segment matures.