Mevius Cigarettes: A Brand Evolution

Mevius Cigarettes

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Mevius Cigarettes


Firstly, Mevius, previously known as Mild Seven, is a well-known Japanese brand of cigarettes that has gained popularity worldwide. Manufactured and owned by Japan Tobacco, Mevius has a rich history and a strong presence in the global cigarette market. In this article, we will delve into the intriguing journey of Mevius, exploring its origins, controversies, marketing strategies, and its association with Formula 1 and other sports. Let’s embark on a journey through time and discover the brand evolution of Mevius cigarettes.

Origins of Mevius

Secondly, Mild Seven, the predecessor of Mevius, was launched in 1977 as a milder alternative to the Seven Stars brand. It quickly gained popularity and was introduced in international markets, including the United States, under the same name in 1981. One notable feature of Mild Seven was its introduction of a charcoal filter in an American blend, a first in Japan. The brand’s advertising slogan, “The blue world of Mild Seven,” and its blue-themed packaging became iconic.

The Rise of Mevius

Thirdly, Under the Mild Seven name, the brand became a top seller, making it the third most widely smoked cigarette worldwide, trailing only behind Marlboro and Camel. However, in 2012, Japan Tobacco decided to rebrand Mild Seven as Mevius to comply with legislation regarding the labeling of cigarettes as “mild” in certain countries. The rebranding aimed to strengthen Mevius’s premium image and appeal to a wider audience.

Controversies Surrounding Mevius

Counterfeit Mild Seven Cigarettes

In 2006, reports emerged of counterfeit Mild Seven cigarettes being smuggled and sold outside Japan. These counterfeit cigarettes closely imitated the packaging design but lacked the quality of the genuine product. It was suspected that these counterfeit cigarettes were manufactured as a means of acquiring foreign currency funds by North Korea.

Mild Seven Recalls

In December 2007, Japan Tobacco had to recall some Mild Seven cigarettes due to faulty filters. Approximately 14,500 cigarettes, including 2,500 faulty ones, were recalled from stores in Tokyo and neighboring prefectures. The faulty filters were not properly glued on and had the potential to come off, posing a risk to consumers. Japan Tobacco swiftly took action to rectify the issue.

Instagram Marketing Controversy

In 2017, JTI Korea was embroiled in a controversy surrounding its marketing practices on Instagram. It was revealed that JTI Korea had been paying influential Instagram users with a large following to promote Mevius cigarettes. These posts primarily targeted women who followed fashion-savvy men, sparking concerns about the glamorization of smoking and the exposure of underage users to such content.

Fukushima Tobacco Leaf Controversy

Online rumors circulated about Mild Seven, and later Mevius, manufacturing tobacco leaves near the Fukushima nuclear plant accident in Japan. These rumors led to suspicions and concerns among consumers. However, JTI Korea clarified that Mevius does not use Japanese tobacco at all, dispelling any doubts about the origin of the tobacco used in their cigarettes.

Mevius and Formula 1

Mevius Formula 1

Mevius has had a significant presence in the world of Formula 1 racing, serving as the title sponsor for the Benetton Formula One team starting from the 1994 season. This association continued even after Benetton was acquired by Renault. However, due to European Tobacco Regulations, Japan Tobacco had to end its sponsorship with Renault at the end of the 2006 season. ING replaced Mevius as the main sponsor from 2007 onwards, marking the end of an era for the brand’s involvement in Formula 1.

Mevius in Other Sports

Apart from Formula 1, Mevius has been associated with various other sports, leaving its mark on the global sports scene. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, when Japanese tobacco companies were prohibited from advertising their products in China, Japan Tobacco decided to organize the “Mild Seven Outdoor Quest.” This adventure race, sponsored by Mild Seven cigarettes, became a platform for top athletes and showcased scenic locations in Western China.

In 2001, Mild Seven sponsored the “Mild Seven Pool Challenge,” further expanding its presence in the sports arena. These events not only promoted the brand but also provided thrilling experiences for participants and spectators alike.

Marketing Strategies

Throughout its history, Mevius, previously Mild Seven, has employed various marketing strategies to promote its cigarettes. TV advertisements played a crucial role in capturing the attention of consumers. JTI created captivating TV commercials both in English and Japanese, showcasing the allure of Mild Seven cigarettes. These advertisements aimed to create a sense of sophistication and style, appealing to a wide range of audiences.

Poster advertisements were also utilized to showcase the distinct branding of Mild Seven and Mevius cigarettes. These visually appealing posters effectively conveyed the essence of the brand, leaving a lasting impression on consumers. In Hong Kong, Mild Seven even appeared on buses, serving as a mobile advertisement that caught the eye of passersby.

Global Presence of Mevius

Mevius cigarettes are primarily sold in Japan, where it has a strong market presence. However, the brand has also made its way into international markets. Mevius cigarettes have been or are currently sold in countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Morocco, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Myanmar, South Korea, and the United States. This global reach has contributed to the brand’s recognition and popularity among smokers worldwide.

Mevius in Popular Culture

Mevius, with its iconic branding and presence, has made appearances in various forms of popular culture. In the anime series Great Teacher Onizuka, the protagonist Eikichi Onizuka is depicted smoking Mild Seven cigarettes. Additionally, in the novel Battle Royale by Koushun Takami, one of the protagonists, Shōgo Kawada, smokes a fictional brand called Wild Seven, which parodies Mild Seven.

In manga series such as Cat’s Eyes, Tokyo Babylon, X by CLAMP, and Ajin: Demi-Human, characters are depicted smoking Mild Seven and Mevius cigarettes, further cementing the brand’s influence in popular culture.


Mevius cigarettes formerly known as Mild Seven, have come a long way since their introduction in 1977. From being a mild alternative to Seven Stars to becoming one of the world’s most widely smoked cigarette brands, Mevius has left an indelible mark on the tobacco industry. Despite controversies and rebranding, Mevius continues to evolve and adapt to changing regulations and consumer preferences. With its rich history, global presence, and association with Formula 1 and other sports, Mevius cigarettes remain a significant player in the market, appealing to smokers seeking a premium smoking experience.

Remember, smoking is harmful to your health, and it is essential to make informed choices and prioritize your well-being.


  • Wikipedia articles on Mevius and Mild Seven