• The major tobacco industry players are…

    Philip Morris Ltd. Owned by Altria Inc.

    Brands include – Marlboro, Raffles, Basic and Philip Morris.

    1) The company manufactures, markets sells/distributes in more than 160 countries.

    2) Produces 7 of the top 20 best selling global cigarette brands.

    3) Collectively accounts for 18% of the global cigarette market.

    4) Marlboro is one of only 2 brands with global sales exceeding $15bn per annum

    The Marlboro Man advertising campaign by the Leo Burnett Agency is widely acknowledged as one of the all time most successful advertising campaigns. Ads  depicted nothing much to do with cigarettes (i.e. paper rolled around dried leaves), but propelled the brand to the forefront of premium cigarettes market. 

    British American Tobacco / Rothmans

    Brands include – Lucky Strike, Dunhill, Rothmans and Royals

    1) The company operates in more than 150 countries.

     Reynolds American Inc.

    Brand include – Winston Salem

    Gallaher

    Brands include – Benson & Hedges, Silk Cut, Berkeley, Sovereign, Dorchester and Mayfair.

    Imperial Tobacco

    Brands include – Embassy, Regal, Superkings, Lambert & Butler and Richmond.

    Tobacco companies such as BAT and Philip Morris both run Youth Smoking prevention programs as part of their corporate social agenda. The ‘you don’t have to smoke to be cool’ advert was shown on MTV Europe, minimum age notices are placed in points of purchase and the brand logo is not sold on caps and t-shirt.

    Smoke Free Kids

    However these initiatives are dwarfed by corporate sponsorship, marketing and point of sale activity of rock concerts, Formula 1 and other motor sports. These events are attended predominately by young people whose perception of rock stars or the motor racing champion is one of cool and glamorous, who lives an inspirational lifestyle all young people can only dream off.

    The reality of driving for most people is one of congestion, frustration and pollution. Cars have always been sold on an image of open roads, hassle free driving and freedom to travel. These associations have always been the Marlboro Mans identity. Sponsoring motor-sport has taken the campaign yet another step forward from the days of the cowboy.

    Rock ‘n’ Roll stars have always been aligned with rebellion, free wheeling, on the edge and everything the previous generation despises. Again these are all qualities young people identify with and want to be a part off. These qualities are coincidentally the same as the Marlboro Man myth.

    The reality the original Marlboro Men, Wayne McLaren, is that he succumbed to lung cancer and died at the age of 51. McLaren’s brother provided a voiceover over a withered image of Wayne in a hospital bed prior to his death asking the question ‘Lying there with all those tubes in you, how independent can you really be?

    Cigarette girls are used extensively to reinforce the brand in bars clubs, high profile events, parties, film premiers, fashion shows, concerts, festivals and restaurants. Although giving away free product to customers is no longer prohibited selling them at a great reduction isn’t. There is also the perceived association of beautiful models and cigarettes, the image of glamour is aspirational and being at all the right places. It sends out a message that if you smoke you can be ‘hot like me’. Again associating cigarettes to sexy, young and glamorous women enforces the image the brands try to portray. It is the wrong message to send out when about one fifth of 15 year olds are regular smokers, with the number of girls lighting up outnumbering boys. Most of the girls I knew who promoted cigarettes in bars don’t actually smoke.

    The image of smoking in the all media is still perceived as cool. From 50’s stars such as James Dean (Rebel Without a Cause), to Michael Caine (Get Carter) right through to today’s blockbusters starring Brad Pitt (Fight Club) and John Travolta (Swordfish). These stars are immortalized in film images that are so strong the picture could be still endorsing cigarettes as a ‘cool thing’ 50 or 100 years from now in cinemas and in your home on DVD.

    Bogey smoking

        Smoking celebrities

    John Wayne Marlboro Man

    Dirk Bogart           Celebrities           John Wayne

    Throughout the 90’s the TV and film franchise ‘The X Files’ contained a character played by the non-smoking actor – William B Davis called ‘Cancer Man.’ The Fox TV publicity department were more PC and referred to the character as ‘Cigarette Smoking Man.’

    For film directors today to reinforce the image of smoking as a cool character trait is morally irresponsible, lazy and shows a great lack of imagination.

     Smoking Pete Docherty

    Kate Moss smokes

    Jonny vegas Smokes

    jodie Marsh smoking

    Certain celebrities revel in their ability to smoke cigarettes like it’s a badge of honor. The problem is in these days when celebrity is celebrated and impressionable young people readily buy into it, promoting smoking is not only irresponsible but stupid. Not all the blame can be laid at the door of this or that celerity. The media should be more careful of what photographs and images they choose to reproduce.

    Brad Pitt smokes the-first-wives-club smoking

    indy-car- sponsored by Marlboro

    holy-smokes Madonna

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  • Killing your customers is not generally considered a good business practise, but tobacco companies seem to excel in this field. 

    Associated health problems attributed to the smoking of cigarettes prior to the 1930’s were unknown. ‘Doctor Recommended’ and ‘Good for Digestion’ advertisements were common in the 1920’s. Then in 1932 a paper published by the American Journal of Cancer made the connection between cigarettes and cancer. 

    Many more papers were subsequently released, solidifying the health issues from cigarettes. By 1957 the Surgeon General (USA) became involved with the issues and by 1964 he had filed an official report connecting cigarettes to cancer.

    In the early 70’s a Smoking Act was passed by the US Congress, TV bans and warning labels were brought into effect. Within the space of four decades the image of cigarettes had changed. Smokers (the minority) still believe it’s their right to smoke, not the non-smokers (the majority) right to breathe clean air. On 1st July 2001 smoking will be banned in all public places in the UK following successful bans already in place in Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

    Way back in 1973 warning labels were introduced and the first ban on smoking in a public place was introduced in Arizona. California, New York State and Ireland followed suit years later. Other countries throughout the European Union are now lining up to back a ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces

    In 1984 warning labels were changed on the packet of cigarettes. Meanwhile in Canada, Brazil, Singapore and Thailand packs already contained graphic coloured images with additional health warnings. Ireland and Belgium have indicated that they will introduce some of the 42 images approved by the EU in the near future. 

                                                       Leo Bennett      Leo Burnett     

                 marlboro the original cigarette

                             ’Original’ Marlboro                       

    Philip Morris used the Leo Burnett Company in 1955 to develop a ‘minor cigarette brand with a predominately feminine image and turned it in to a big seller by using close-up photos of ruggedly handsome men’, The ‘Marlboro Man’ arguably the most successful marketing campaign ever, took the idea of smoking and linked it with the image of rebellion, freedom and personal choice. Thus, any attacks made on smokers or smoking becomes an issue of losing that freedom or the government interfering in the personal choices of the people. This changed somewhat in 1993 when passive smoking or second hand smoke was recognised as a cause of cancer. The issues of freedom to smoke and personal choice changed to one of injuring others.

                Smoking Marlboro Man

          Marlboro Man circa 1955     

    Smoking Marlboro Cowboy

          Marlboro cowboy circa 1956     

    Smoking Marlboro Cowboy 1973

    Smoking Marlboro Country

    Marlboro Country circa 1973

       Ronald Reagan in Cigarette Ad

     marlboro smoking cowboy

    marlboro rodeo

    Marlboro menthol cigarette ad

    The tobacco companies answered by employing marketing strategies for a healthier cigarette, this started in 1952 with the introduction of filters. 1.3% of cigarette sales had filters in this year but by 1956 over 25% had filters. Now almost all cigarettes sold are filtered. The next step in the elusive search for the healthy cigarette occurred in the 70’s with the introduction of the ‘Tar Wars’. Arguable the most famous brand created was ‘Marlboro Lights.’ The words Light and Medium were outlawed in 2002 in the UK. Cigarette tar and nicotine yields are measured by machines that smoke but bear little relation to the way humans smoke cigarettes. However it is widely perceived that a Light alternative is safer but there is no evidence to support this.

    The continuation of marketing ‘Marlboro Man’ and ‘Marlboro Country’ saw the emphasis shift from the product to one were a cigarette or pack of cigarettes had completely disappeared from the advertisements and now the focus was on satisfaction and taste. The whole appeal of the product is one of rebellion and freedom. Marlboro ads no longer sell a product but sell an image.

    As the Western worlds taste for cigarettes diminishes with the knowledge of cancer and the new legislation against tobacco smoking in public places and raising the age to buy from 16 to 18, the tobacco companies shift their emphasis to new and emerging markets in developing countries. Not unlike other corporations who set up sweat shops in Free Trade Zones throughout the developing world, the tobacco companies are also taking advantage of cheap labour and land and take with them a whole new set of health, environmental and social problems. Although cigarette sales in the western world have diminished the tobacco companies report bigger profits year on year, but at what cost to public health and the environment?

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