Selling Elephant & Castle
To promote E&C, we ran ads in PCI's magazine, the only consumer
publication at the time, and trade publications like the RTDA
almanac. Retailers were receptive, in part because Marble Arch
was associated with quality products. However, it surprised us
that many dealers ordered the whole line with the exception of
the Blue Mosque.
So what do you do when they won't buy your tobacco? You give
it to them! Actually we created a "Launch Offer" bundle
which included Blue Mosque, and was appealing enough that most
of our orders and reorders for quite a while were "Launch
It worked - little by little the Blue Mosque started to sell
on its own. By the time McConnell closed, it was the biggest
seller in the E&C range.
Things ran smoothly for several years. We added and then deleted
100 gram tins. Added and then smoked 250 gram bulk vacuum sealed
bags. We kept fighting our inclination to add new mixtures, and
the line sold well - not like Capt. Black - but it sold well.
Customers liked it and the quality was always rock solid. It
also meant we had great tobacco to smoke ourselves!
We should have known it was too good to last.
Ken McConnell and his brother Mick weren't old, but while we
weren't paying attention, they had decided to retire, and none
of their progeny wanted to be involved with a 100+ year old tobacco
The Elephant & Castle line was manufactured for about eight
years by C.E. McConnell at their factory on Barking Road in London.
It was only made in London.
Alan Schwartz, who's Wessex tobacco was also being made by McConnell
tried to buy the company and keep it in London, but ultimately
it was sold to a German company.
The closing of C.E. McConnell in 1989, which had been founded
in 1848, was a sad day for pipe smokers - whether they were aware
of it or not.
to Part 4
After Elephant & Castle