Marlboro Man

Posted: April 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

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In the late 1940s, the Marlboro company came out with an advertisement for cigarettes for women. Now, there needed to be an advertisement appealing to males and implementing masculinity. This was a time period where cowboys were particularly glorified, and Leo Burnett (head of the company) decided to use him as a figure of masculinity to sell cigarettes.

Marlboro slogans included: “Come to Marlboro Country”; “Come to where the flavor is”; and “You get a lot to like with a Marlboro.”Although the most iconic ads are the cowboy ones, Marlboro also included ads with ball players, race car drivers, and rugged men with tattoos.


Facets of Effects  

-Facet of Effect-

The Facet of Effect this best embodies is Feel. The Communication is Emotional/Affective. Marlboro man plays off the emotional appeal to be masculine and tough. It creates a want to be a get the cigarettes and be a man. Excitement for the potential and liking that they can buy these cigarettes and not appear feminine.


The Marlboro Man has been considered one of the most brilliant advertisements ever. Their sales skyrocketed. By 1955, when Marlboro Man went national, the sales reached $5 billion. It was 3,241 % jump over sales in 1954. By 1957, sales reached $20 billion. When cigarette ads were banned from television in 1971, Marlboro Man was fortunate to have the magazine ad image. They became the No. 1 brand tobacco brand in the world.

However, there were some rough spots…all of the models for Marlboro Man died of lung cancer.

Target Audience


The key demographic audience is the Gender, and appealing to men. In the 1940s, Marlboro came out with a cigarette ad for women, called “Mild as May.” Now they needed an ad to appeal to masculinity, and that is where the Marlboro cowboy and other rugged men came into play.

The ad–while more prevalent in the mid-20th century-was used from 1954-1999. This encompassed (assuming the targeted audience was the legal age to buy cigarettes) every generation from the Greatest Generation through the first part of the Me Generation.


The VALs framework that the men targeted in this ad would fit in is the Self-Expression column, especially the experiencers. This is just one product they use to experience life. In the MindBase category, it would be “I am Expressive”–the men live life to the fullest. As evidenced by smoking, the men “live in the now.”


The Path to a Brand Decision aligns with the Feel-Do-Think (or “Wants”). Men first feel the rugged example, and how manly smoking filtered cigarettes can be. The Do part is actually buying and smoking the product. Think comes many years later…

Personal Analysis 

I don’t smoke cigarettes, nor do I fit the male target audience, but I believe this ad was successful and an excellent strategy. Men are looking for something to fulfill masculinity and toughness, just as women want products to make them feel pretty.


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