The downfall of Winston was due in part to the broadcast ban on cigarette advertising. R.J. Reynolds had a difficult time adapting Winston’s appeal to the print media. In contrast, Marlboro did not have this problem, and
Philip Morris was able to use magazines and other print media to promote its Marlboro brand effectively.
Overtaking Winston in 1976, Marlboro is now the undisputed leader in both the USA and worldwide.
Marlboro’s success was quite spectacular. It was responsible for the transformation of Philip Morris from a
small tobacco company to the number-one cigarette company in the USA. But it was not an overnight success.
Initially introduced in a soft box with, among other filters, a red-cork tip, Marlboro had a female image which
made the brand unpopular among men.The company decided to make a few changes, which included the neutralcork tip and the addition of a flip-top, crush-proof box. Perhaps the most important change was the advertising
theme. Marlboro’s advertisements featured the rugged-looking men, tattooed laborers, and cowboys “who came
up the hard way.”These virile men usually told something about their he-man lives and explained why they chose
Marlboro. Philip Morris was extremely successful in creating a unique image that allowed a man to project himself
through the cigarettes he smoked. Winston, on the other hand, could not acquire this distinct image.
The Marlboro cowboy is now a legend. Most US consumers (including many others in all parts of the world)
are accustomed to seeing the Marlboro Man. All advertisements of the Marlboro line (full-flavored Marlboro,
Marlboro Lights, and Marlboro 100s) have one thing in common – the cowboy. He may ride a horse or he may
sit at a campfire. He may be alone or he may be with other cowboys. But he is always in the advertisements.The
image is so strong that the copy needs only a few words, shown in Figure. It is the cowboy that does all the
talking, though without actually speaking. Yet the message is readily understood.
Consider the Marlboro advertisement and select a certain country as your target market. Write a formal business memo to a chief executive officer of a small international advertising agency in which you submit suggestions about:
1 How would you modify the advertisement in order to make it more attractive to a selected target clientele
(identify) within the country you have chosen?
2 Why would each change you suggest help the product image to conform more closely to their expectations?
Note: Rough sketches would be nice but are not necessary. Word-pictures can be drawn with equal skill. Simply
show each change you are making. It is the originality, imagination, and effectiveness of each suggestion, not your
artistic skill, that will count.