Date: 1927
Brand: Marlboro
Manufacturer: Philip Morris
Campaign: Mass Marketing Begins
Theme: Targeting Women
Keywords: Male, Female, Romance, Fashion, Flapper
Quote: Discerning feminine taste is now confirming the judgment of masculine connoisseurs in expressing unanimous preference for the aristocrat of cigarettes.

Comment: This is an example of one of the first Marlboro ads, which marketed Marlboro cigarettes as being Mild as May to attract a female audience. This advertisement takes the next step by actually illustrating a fashionable woman smoking elegantly, and possibly in public in a caf‚ or restaurant. The text explains that discerning feminine taste likes Marlboros just as much as the masculine connoisseurs who have been smoking for decades. Marlboro, the brand associated today with the rugged manliness of the Marlboro Man cowboy of later decades, was actually introduced to the market in 1927 as a woman s cigarette. It wasn t until 1954, after the war, that Marlboro underwent a sex change to compete with the three other top cigarette manufacturers.

Mass Marketing Begins

As the threat of tobacco prohibition from temperance unions settled down in the late 1920s, tobacco companies became bolder with their approach to targeting women through advertisements, openly targeting women in an attempt to broaden their market and increase sales. The late 1920s saw the beginnings of major mass marketing campaigns designed specifically to target women. Cigarette manufacturers have for a long time subtly suggested in some of their advertising that women smoked, a New York Times article from 1927 reveals. But Chesterfield s 1927 Blow some my way campaign was transparent to the public even at the time of printing, and soon after, the campaigns became less and less subtle. In 1928, Lucky Strike introduced its Cream of the Crop campaign, featuring celebrity testimonials from female smokers, and then followed with Reach for a Lucky Instead of a Sweet in 1929, designed to prey on female insecurities about weight and diet. As the decade turned, many cigarette brands came out of the woodwork and joined in on unabashedly targeting women by illustrating women smoking, rather than hinting at it.

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