The Marlboro Brand – Status Quo

The Company
Marlboro is the largest selling brand of cigarettes in the world. It is made by Philip Morris USA and International, which is the largest cigarette manufacturer in the world. Philip Morris launched the Marlboro brand in 1924 as a woman’s cigarette, based on the slogan “Mild As May”. In the 1920’s , advertising for the cigarette was primarily based around how lady like the cigarette was. After scientists published a major study linking smoking to lung cancer in the 1950s, Philip Morris repositioned Marlboro as a men’s cigarette in order to fit a market niche of men who were concerned about lung cancer. At the time, filtered cigarettes were considered safer than unfiltered cigarettes, but had been until that time only marketed to women. In the 1950s, Philipp Morris Overseas introduced first sales organisations and production facilities outside the U.S. Today, the company owns production sites in 56 countries, sales subsidiaries in 150 countries and sales its products in 180 countries.

Short Brand History

Marlboro in the 1920s and 1950s

  • 1920s: Introduced by Philip Morris
  • Before/After World War II: Different Positioning
  • 1955: Leo Burnett repositions brand to appeal to both male and female smokers – “The Tattooed Man” image campaign, later “The Marlboro Cowboy”
  • 1963: Extension with “The Marlboro Country” theme
  • By 1972: No. 1 tobacco brand in the world
  • 1984: License for Marlboro garments (“Marlboro Classics”)
  • 1993: “Marlboro Friday” – 20% price cut to fight back against generic competitors
  • 2012: New campaign, obviously targeting young adult smokers (“Don’t Be a Maybe”)

Brand Name
The brand is named after Great Marlborough Street, the location of its original London Factory.

Logotype, Brand Colours and Typography
The Marlboro logo design represents the symbol of rugged individualism and masculinity. The logo design works well in various scales, from small to large size. The colours chosen work well in 2 colour and in black and white. The clever logo design works well and is immediately recognizable in positive and negative reproductions. Philip Morris owns for its Marlboro brand an own typography.

Brand Claim
Throughout its history, Marlboro have had several brand claims. Probably the most famous one is “The Marlboro Country” established in the 1960s with the aim of repositioning the brand to appeal to both male and female smokers.

In 2012, Philip Morris introduced the new brand claim is “Don’t Be a Maybe” to target young adult smokers.

Brand Claim 2012: Don’t Be A Maybe

Marlboro Man

Symbols
Probably the most recognised symbol of the Marlboro brand is the cowboy. The cowboy played a huge role in establishing the Marlboro brand as the top selling cigarette. Therefore, the Marlboro Man is still a brilliant creation and a powerful icon and symbol for the brand.

The brand today does not exhibit any symbols or icons, apart form its logo. The Marlboro Man, however, is still recognised and associated with the Marlboro brand.

Product Portfolio

The Product
In 2008 the brand family underwent an architectural redesign. Marlboro’s brand architecture represents three product lines, that is Flavor Line, Gold Line and Fresh Line. Marlboro Flavor is the authority in tobacco flavor for the whole brand family, representing superior smoking satisfaction. Marlboro Gold offers a range of superior, smooth-tasting smoking dimensions, and Marlboro Fresh defines the reference category of refreshing taste sensations (non-menthol-to-menthol products using capsule-in-filter technology).

Target Group
Young adult smokers (18-30) are key target group of Marlboro. Core lifestyles and needs of these young consumers are independence, hedonism, freedom and comfort.

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