A marlboro man story

Many current Marlboro cigarette smokers would not believe that their favorite brand was once targeted to women. However, it was, as was the most of the filtered cigarettes brands before 1950s. Marlboro, a brand created in 1924, initially built its image as a feminine, apparently safer due to the filter, light cigarette. Mild As May,» sold in white boxes with a lot of copy appealing to women and featuring special, red cellulose around the filter to hide the lipstick stains Marlboro targeted young women.

Marlboro Mild As May (1935) via

A New Marlboro packaging redesign

In late 1950s, Philip Morris tried to change this image and target more financially attractive group young males. Marlboro gained fresh, innovative hard cardboard flip top opened box designed by Frank Gianninoto, who created also famous Campbell’s soup can. The new packaging had many advantages. Its toughness was appealing to men who wanted to protect their cigarettes in rough conditions. The flip top design forced smokers to look at the pack while taking a cigarette out. A clean, aggressive white with red arrow graphics design (a rooftop ) was easily recognizable on monochrome TV screen regardless of distortions.

A Marlboro Man is born

Leo Burnett, a Chicago based advertising agency responsible for reaching out to the new target audience came out with the idea of presenting Marlboro brand through archetypal masculine characters. The cowboy character was the first in the lineup and as the history shows, the best and the only one. Leo Burnett did not appeal to the health benefits of the filter, but rather ignored any health concerns in the campaign which was in the opposition to other brands.

Clarence Hailey Long (Photo credit Wikipedia)

The initial Marlboro Man cowboy was inspired by the Life magazine s publication of Leonard McCombes photo story featuring Clarence Hailey Long. This Texan cowboy was also the first model to appear in Marlboro advertisements. C.H. Long was soon replaced by other cowboys, firstly paid models and actors, and later, starting with 1963 Marlboro County campaign with real, working cowboys performing their working tasks. Mr. Lawson, who passed away on 28th of January 2014 was a Marlboro Man between 1978 and 1980.

The most successful branding in tobacco advertising

Marlboro Man since the beginning was an incredibly successful campaign with direct impact on sales. Within just a year Marlboro from niche brand with 1% market share went to top 4 position in the U.S. market. By 1972, Marlboro was the most popular cigarettes brand, and it holds this position since then.

A Marlboro Man why it worked so well?

Why Marlboro Man was (and still is on some markets) so powerful? At K message, we tend to look at advertising with scientific approach, and our analysis of Marlboro Man success is not an exception.

Marlboro Man brings together at least three powerful psychological interpretations.

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