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The amazing Marlboro cigarette brand began in England 1847 and was initially targeted at female smokers. Aiming at this market segment was not successful, so in the 1920's Marlboro was re-targeted to female smokers in the United States. In this campaign it was stressed that Marlboro was a 'mild' cigarette. These efforts continued into World War II when the brand was eventually taken off the market.
In the 1950's Marlboro was again introduced to the market, this time on the heels of a stories about the negative health aspects of smoking. At the time, the vast majority of cigarettes being sold were non-filtered. Marlboro was a filtered cigarette, so this clearly was an attempt to win over the health conscience crowd.
Later, during the 50's, the company decided to dump the targeting of women and began promoting Marlboro as a man's cigarette. The first icon of this new change in marketing was the 'Tatooed Man' depicted on this page. Various images of healthy looking, outdoor type began showing up in ads.
The images used in their ads evolved more and more into those depicting particularly macho types. In the beginning, images of naval officers and livestock ranchers made the advertising scene. In 1954, the now well known 'Marlboro Man' was introduced, and by 1963 was the sole representative of Marlboro ads.
Around 1972, Marlboro cigarettes became the most popular brand, and have remained so, for the most part since then.
While the Marlboro brand may not be ranked at the top any longer, it still retains a value in excess of $21 billion. That figure places it above such brands as American Express, Hewlett-Packard, and Gillette.
Marlboro Naming Scheme in Transition
In mid-August of 2006, a federal district court ruled that the names 'Light', 'Ultralight', 'Natural', or 'Mild' could not be used. The judge said that these names were misleading to smokers in the sense that they conveyed some positive health effect. The ruling further stipulated that names changes must occur at the beginning of 2007.
Tentatively, Philip Morris has decided to use a color naming scheme for their products that previously used the banned words in the name of their product. Given that, they have decided that Marlboro Lights would be called Marlboro Golds and that Marlboro Ultralights would be named Marlboro Silvers.
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