Acrossthe globe one of the biggest challenges in advertising is to be innovative andcreative, especially if one is marketing a way of living. Lifestyle marketingwas neither common nor widely used before Phillip Morris used it to introduce the’Marlboro man’. Cigarettes were initially introduced for women and Marlboro hadthe red band at the end of cigarettes to hide the lipstick marks. It turned outto be a good/successful marketing strategy for Phillip Morris, showing women asclassy and wealthy with the tag line “mild as may”, but it was only until thereport was released in the U.S during 1950 which showed 40% of Americansagreeing to the idea that cigarettes are an increasing cause of lung cancer(Gallup Poll).
This report was the birth of ‘Marlboro Man’. First introduced in1954, the Marlboro man had a direct impact on sales, within a year Marlboro’smarket share was in the top 4. By 1972 Marlboro was the top selling cigarettein the US and it still holds that position.
PhillipMorris had the perfect product for their initial target market i.e women butafter the report Phillip Morris had to go through immense repositioning fortheir product named ‘Marlboro’. It was not considered classy for women anymoreso 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 butwithout losing its consumers.
They hired Leo Burnett, an advertising master,founder of Leo Burnett Company, Inc. Burnett didn’t only use the rough andtough images of cowboys, over the decade he also used various professions likerigged guys with tattoos, ball players and race car drivers (mainly focused onF1 drivers). Leo knew that Marlboro has been a product for women and this hadto be changed by a design revamp of the product packaging. The first print adswere subtle with a strong message, “come to where the flavour is” or “thefilter doesn’t get between you and the flavour” with a cowboy on a horse lightingup a cigarette. Burnett was smart enough to design the new flip top box forMarlboro and made sure that it stood out in the print ad. The new design of thepack made it look more masculine and a rigid cowboy smoking made it look evenmore rugged.Leo Burnettmainly used these three principles to market the ‘Marlboro man’, archetypes,visual semiotics and the savanna principle. Archetype is the concept ofbehaviourism in modern physiological theory.
Carl Jung explains it as”universal, archaic patterns and images that derive from the collectiveunconscious and are the psychic counterpart”. The best example to understandarchetype is the cowboy from the Marlboro county: lone explorer/traveller withthe 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 depictmasculinity and values connected to it. The savanna principle as coined bySatoshi Kanazava explains that the human brains has not evolved much for thelast 10,000 years so we perceive things the same way as a human living in thestone age, the Marlboro county shown in the print ads and the TV commercialsshows us the nature which we are naturally attracted to with the mountains,trees and lush green fields. This scenery triggers our instinct to explore theMarlboro county.