Marlboro does! The history of Marlboro cigarettes can be traced back to the year 1847 in the country, England. Marlboro cigarettes got its name from a street called Marlborough in London (where the first Marlboro factory was established). The brand was owned by a company called Philip Morris which was largely an England based cigarette company. In the year 1902, Philip Morris the company, created its subsidiary, Phillip Morris USA, in the city of New York. It may come as a surprise to some that when Marlboro was launched in 1924 in the US, the brand was actually targeted at women as its main consumers. The slogan that introduced the Marlboro cigarettes to the fairer sex of the United States was “Mild as May”.
However; later on due to socio-political events on the globe, the market for Marlboro cigarettes during WW II started falling, but reappeared in the 1950′s with a focus on promoting filtered cigarettes. During those times, the majority of cigarettes were non-filtered, thus, Marlboro’s creation of filtered cigarettes appealed to the public awareness of a healthy life. Afterward, a substantial change of advertising was made; all the subtle allusions to women disappeared and the company started to promote Marlboro as a man’s cigarette.
The Marlboro advertising campaign is said to be one of the most brilliant ad campaigns ever made. It transformed a feminine campaign, with the slogan “Mild as May”, into one that was macho and masculine, and which led to significant and immediate effects on sales. By 1957, sales represented a 300% increase within two years.
Now, almost 100 years later since its launch as a woman’s cigarette in 1924, the Marlboro brand is still one of the top-selling brands of Philip Morris and is known globally as the premium brand of cigarettes. Moreover, after so many years of being in the market, Marlboro is STILL in its maturity phase. Irrespective of rising cigarette taxes, increasing cigarette prices and recessionary times, Marlboro cigarettes enjoys its popularity throughout the world and is not affected by any of the above factors. In fact, besides the fact that it is still in its maturity phase; trends show that Marlboro will continue to ride the top for some more years to come. So how can a company that has been operating for so many years remain so successful?
Simply, the leading cause to Marlboro’s success is innovation; even with the success of its main product, red Marlboro, the company over the years kept introducing new tobacco blends and flavors to its customers. For instance, it is available in different kinds such as, menthol, and clove flavored cigarettes. It is also available in different blends such as, Marlboro Light, Black and Gold.
So the question remains, with so much competition, and after so many years, how can Marlboro remain in its maturity phase rather than start declining? Also, is Marlboro’s success attributed to tobacco being an inelastic product or because people just can’t get enough of that sweet blend? 🙂