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Legendeary marketing strategy of Malboro cigarette

People, on the historic date of 11th of January 1964,

it was officially declared by the United States government

that cigarette causes cancer.

And within a day an $8 Billion dollar tobacco industry and

the incomes of 7,50,000 families was at stake.

While most companies saw their sales dropping down

there was one company that miraculously went from having

just 1% market share

to becoming the 4th largest cigarette brand in the world

in less than one year.

And after 1970 when cigarette advertisements were

permanently banned from televisions

this brand became even more popular

to go on to become the largest manufacturer of cigarettes in

the world.

This brand that I’m talking about goes by the name Marlboro.

And Marlboro today is so huge that


it has got more consumers than it’s next 10 competitors


The question is – What the hell did they do ?

because of which the very same cancer report and the ban

which is essentially supposed to kill it’s business

ended up becoming a stepping stone for Marlboro to become a

$58 Billion brand.

The answer to this question lies in one of the most iconic

marketing strategies

ever witnessed by mankind.

which is called lifestyle marketing.

Now let’s try to understand this using a very simple example

that is closer to home.

If you are a 90s kid and you watched Sachin Tendulkar play

I bet you that at some point in your life or someone in

you’re friend circle

must have bought an MRF bat.

And chances are that when you visited the store

you knew nothing about English Willow, Kashmir Willow.

You did not care which wood the bat was made of.

You did not care whether it was original or duplicate, you

just wanted a bat.

And then you had two choices

bats with no stickers or bats with MRF stickers.

And you chose the MRF bat by default

And then after that god knows after how many years later you


that the fullform of MRF is Madras Rubber Factory.

And the fact that MRF is primarily a rubber tyre

manufacturing company

which just happened to sponsor Sachin Tendulkar.

Later on this very same thing happened to Reebok when Dhoni

started using Reebok bats.

Now here the question is – is it a coincidence that millions

of children all across the country

were so stupid to mindlessly buy a bat with a sticker of a

rubber tyre company ?

If not, then how the hell did this even happen ?

Well, here’s where the magic of lifestyle marketing happens.

We all idolised Sachin Tendulkar and we all wanted to be

like Sachin Tendulkar.

So subconsciously, the MRF bats made us feel as if

we were holding the exact same bat as Sachin Tendulkar


So to put that straight, what we essentially bought into

when we bought MRF bats is not the bat itself

but the connect that it had with our idol, that is, Sachin


because we wanted to be like Sachin Tendulkar.

Now in the US the same thing happened to Nike’s Air Jordan

shoes lineup

wherein when Nike signed up Michael Jordan

the fascination for Air Jordan shoes became so crazy

that even today, after 18 years of Michael Jordan’s


he still makes $100 million dollars every single year just

in royalty.


This is what we call as lifestyle marketing wherein

consumers buy more into the lifestyle of the icon whose

associated with the product

than the product itself.

And this is exactly what the marketeers of Marlboro

cigarettes did to their brand.

After the 1964 report, which was released by the surgeon

general of the US,

brands started to do everything in their capacity to keep

their reputation.

Some brands tried to justify cigarettes while some brands

completely disapproved the very research itself.

Back then Marlboro was a very small company that made

cigarettes only for women.

But as soon as this news broke out

the parent company of Marlboro, which is Philip Morris

decided to shift their method of marketing

and became an epitome of business propaganda in the 20th



So what the marketeers of Marlboro did is that

instead of justifying smoking and using statistics that were

difficult to understand

they came out with a campaign called the Marlboro Man.

wherein they introduced a character who was supposedly

everything a man wanted to be like.

and they named this character “The Marlboro Man”.

Marlboro Man was a cowboy who had perfectly built up body

and the commercial showcased him as the ultimate architype

of manhood.

He was tough, affectionate and stylish and overall stood as

the icon of freedom and manliness.

And just as we kids bought into MRF bats

men of the 1960s were so fascinated by the Marlboro man

and started buying Marlboro cigarettes

that the commercial became a massive game changer for the


And within a year Marlboro went from having less than 1%

market share

to becoming the 4th largest cigarette manufacturer in the


And the fun fact is in all of those commercials

cigarette was not even the primary subject of focus.

In fact, cigarette as a product got less than 10 seconds of

time footage time

in all of those commercials.

And because of this even when cigarette commercials were

permanently banned from television

and brands couldn’t show cigarettes in commercials or TV,

Marlboro was very easily able to navigate through that


because their focus was anyways not on cigarettes but on

Marlboro Man himself.

And that is how they were able to communicate their emotion

very easily

even through print and magazine.

And this is the reason why even after the 1970 ban

Marlboro’s business still kept growing.

In fact, the sales skyrocketed because the rest of the

brands were struggling

to market their brands without showing their products.

And that is how Marlboro became a legend in advertising

and laid the foundation for Marlboro to become a $58 billion


Now, more than a business lesson there is a very very

important life lesson

that we all need to learn from this iconic case study.

People, just like Marlboro in the 1960s, even today

what we often fail to realize is that

we are constantly being bombarded with lifestyle cigarette


that do not appear as ads but in the form of pop culture


Now, this includes a James Bond appearance

wherein he appears in a tucks and symbolises gentlemanliness

or Kabir Singh who is portrayed as the epitome of manliness.

Now, regardless of how lucrative they look

what is important for us to understand is that

they are merely tapping onto your insecurities to convince

you to do something

which will give you a feeling as if you are an elevated

version of yourself.

But the truth is

because of your lack of self awareness

you don’t realise that your insecurities are putting money

into their pockets

eventually to make those companies billions of dollars

but to turn you into a sick, miserable addict

of either cigarettes or social validation, depending on what

you’re buying into.

So keep your eyes open and do not fall into these traps.

And last and most importantly

my big brother’s advice to you is

“Always remember that buying dumb sh*t will never make you

feel happier

or make you a better version of yourself.

The only thing that will make you feel better is your

acceptance of your insecurities and imperfections.

And at the end of the day if you do not embrace your


some billion dollar brand will dig into your misery and

and make a fortune out of it.”

So think about it and if you think I make sense to you then

help me spread this message

And like once a great woman said,”Imperfection is beauty,

madness is genius

and it is better to be absolutely ridiculous than to be

absolutely boring.” – Marilyn Monroe.

I spent hours in researching these awesome topics

Please visit this website again ,it motivates me .


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