Across so they had to change either the

the globe one of the biggest challenges in advertising is to be innovative and
creative, especially if one is marketing a way of living. Lifestyle marketing
was neither common nor widely used before Phillip Morris used it to introduce the
‘Marlboro man’. Cigarettes were initially introduced for women and Marlboro had
the red band at the end of cigarettes to hide the lipstick marks. It turned out
to be a good/successful marketing strategy for Phillip Morris, showing women as
classy and wealthy with the tag line “mild as may”, but it was only until the
report was released in the U.S during 1950 which showed 40% of Americans
agreeing to the idea that cigarettes are an increasing cause of lung cancer
(Gallup Poll). This report was the birth of ‘Marlboro Man’. First introduced in
1954, the Marlboro man had a direct impact on sales, within a year Marlboro’s
market share was in the top 4. By 1972 Marlboro was the top selling cigarette
in the US and it still holds that position.

Morris had the perfect product for their initial target market i.e women but
after the report Phillip Morris had to go through immense repositioning for
their product named ‘Marlboro’. It was not considered classy for women anymore
so they had to change either the product or the perception of the consumer.
Phillip Morris was under immense fire and they needed to get out of it fast but
without losing its consumers. They hired Leo Burnett, an advertising master,
founder of Leo Burnett Company, Inc. Burnett didn’t only use the rough and
tough images of cowboys, over the decade he also used various professions like
rigged guys with tattoos, ball players and race car drivers (mainly focused on
F1 drivers). Leo knew that Marlboro has been a product for women and this had
to be changed by a design revamp of the product packaging. The first print ads
were subtle with a strong message, “come to where the flavour is” or “the
filter doesn’t get between you and the flavour” with a cowboy on a horse lighting
up a cigarette. Burnett was smart enough to design the new flip top box for
Marlboro and made sure that it stood out in the print ad. The new design of the
pack made it look more masculine and a rigid cowboy smoking made it look even
more rugged.

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Leo Burnett
mainly used these three principles to market the ‘Marlboro man’, archetypes,
visual semiotics and the savanna principle. Archetype is the concept of
behaviourism in modern physiological theory. Carl Jung explains it as
“universal, archaic patterns and images that derive from the collective
unconscious and are the psychic counterpart”. The best example to understand
archetype is the cowboy from the Marlboro county: lone explorer/traveller with
the perception of an independent warrior just like the heroes in ancient tales.
Visual semiotics interprets how a sign brings meaning to the consumer.
Independence, liberty, and egoism come to one’s mind while looking at a
‘Marlboro man’ print ad, from this aspect visuals of Marlboro Man depict
masculinity and values connected to it. The savanna principle as coined by
Satoshi Kanazava explains that the human brains has not evolved much for the
last 10,000 years so we perceive things the same way as a human living in the
stone age, the Marlboro county shown in the print ads and the TV commercials
shows us the nature which we are naturally attracted to with the mountains,
trees and lush green fields. This scenery triggers our instinct to explore the
Marlboro county.


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