Marlboro Cigarettes: The Women’s Cigarette That Raised a Cowboy

by | Jan 20, 2015 | Tobacco

From its first days in 1924 as a women’s cigarette to its branding of America’s favorite cowboy with the Marlboro man, Marlboro cigarettes as had an amazing life up until now. Today Marlboro cigarettes are commonly known as a men’s brand, but are smoked by both men and women around the world.

How Marlboro Cigarettes Started Out “For the Ladies”

From lights to ultra-lights, black 100s to reds, it is now easy to walk down and buy many different brands of Marlboro brand cigarettes. It all started with one brand and one slogan “mild as May” in the early 1920s. Because of the filter, original Marlboro cigarettes were marketed to women. These cigarettes even included a red band around the tip to hide lipstick stains. They even followed up with published marketing tips on how to “keep your lipstick off of the paper” (around the filter). This ladies cigarette was very popular with women and almost nonexistent with men in the beginning. Most filtered cigarettes at that time were like that. Back then, people thought that filtered cigarettes were healthier than unfiltered cigarettes, something we now know to be untrue. However, back then this discouraged most men because it took away the macho side of smoking cigarettes. And for some reason, manliness is always associated with smoking an unfiltered cigarette. Even nowadays men commonly see the smoking of an unfiltered cigarette as part of the “cool cowboy” look.

After years of success as a ladies brand, a few bad years of publicity demolished hopes of continuing the “lady cigarette” and forced Phillip Morris to push Marlboro as a men’s cigarette.

How Bad Press Turned Marlboro Cigarettes from a Lady to a Cowboy

In the 1950s several studies on lung cancer came out which demolished the Marlboro ladies cigarette, but, oddly enough, gave birth to the new character that would carry Marlboro cigarettes for the next 30 years: The Marlboro man. In one of the most daring moves in marketing history, Phillip Morris took a ladies cigarette that came complete with a red band for hiding lipstick and turned it into a rough-and-tumble cigarette brand for the toughest cowboy on the planet: The Marlboro man. His classic look in commercials was one of the most iconic pieces of marketing in history. The Marlboro man single-handedly established Marlboro cigarettes as a man’s brand. He completely abolished all thoughts of Marlboro cigarettes ever being tied to women. The Marlboro man is long gone from television today (as are all cigarette ads in most countries), but his image helped to establish Marlboro cigarettes as one of the top-selling brands.

Today you can find Marlboro cigarettes in every corner of the globe. The main Marlboro brand has a double-digit (and growing) number of sub-brands being sold every day worldwide. If you are smoker, and want to enjoy one of the most popular smooth blend cigarettes on the planet, pick up a pack of Marlboro cigarettes in that classic red and white box.

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