Marlboro is far and away the world's best-known and biggest-selling cigarette, with a huge global presence and retail sales still well in excess of $20bn. Ownership is split primarily between what are now two entirely separate companies: Philip Morris USA and Philip Morris International. Ironically, as the tobacco industry comes under ever more intense regulatory pressure, and as cigarette volumes steadily decline, Marlboro is still going from strength to strength at least in terms of market share. Somehow the brand has retained a uniquely distinct marketing message, even though worldwide regulation makes that message virtually impossible to convey. With the exception of Camel, it is virtually impossible to name any other cigarette which has any form of defined brand, though even that image is now gradually being eradicated by uniform unbranded packaging. In its home territory, more than four out of every ten cigarettes smoked is a Marlboro. That dominance is mirrored to a lesser extent in just about every other territory the brand is marketed. Internationally, Marlboro accounts for around a third of PMI's total unit sales, and more than twice the volumes of the next two brands combined. Marlboro may now be the quintessential American brand, but it has its roots in Britain, where Philip Morris first began making cigarettes in the 1850s. It was first introduced in the US in the 1920s as a cigarette for women, but failed to make any head way against leading local brands like Lucky Strike and Chesterfields. Ad agency Leo Burnett was invited to make one last attempt to save the brand in the mid-1950s, repositioning it as the brand for a rugged "man's man", with ads featuring tatooed sailors and cowboys. These proved an extraordinary success, causing sales to soar. Within a decade, Marlboro was transformed from a no-hoper on the verge of extinction to America's top-selling brand. Subscribers may access account assignments and contact information. The searchable account assignments database is available to full subscribers to Adbrands.net premium services. Click here to access Adbrands account assignments (subscribers only); or see here for information on how to subscribe.
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Who are the competitors of Marlboro? See Tobacco Sector index for other companies
Capsule checked 11th May 2018
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