Collection: Marlboro Modern
Marlboro’s latest campaign, “Be Marlboro” is replete with youth-oriented images and themes that strongly suggest to young people that they should smoke Marlboro cigarettes.
The “Be Marlboro” campaign was launched in Germany in 2011 and has now spread to more than 50 countries including Brazil, Indonesia, China, Japan, Israel, Russia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. In 2013, it was banned from Germany on the grounds that the advertisements were “designed to encourage children as young as 14 years of age to smoke.”
The advertising campaign is filled with images of attractive people taking risks, asserting their freedom, exploring their limits and defying authority. The central message of the ads is that individuals need to shake off their inhibitions to achieve their goals. A good way to do is to “Be Marlboro.” For instance, an ad has the image of a person high on his motorbike (Maybe I will take the challenge”), a profile of a macho man lighting his cigarette (Maybe never lights up the night), an old lady with a raised fist (A Maybe never made history… Don’t be a Maybe), a young woman pressing against a man in an alley (“Maybe never fell in love”), and a guy hopping a chain link fence (“Maybe never found a way”).
Other marketing tactics used by the Be Marlboro campaign include sponsorship of parties and concerts, online promotional videos, exciting point of sale displays and interactive promotional booths.
The use of aspirational imagery and values has been a tactic often used by the tobacco industry to market to youth. Internal tobacco documents by Philip Morris itself describes smoking as an activity that can be “linked to adult initiation, risk taking, bonding with peers and the need for youth to feel like they belong to a group that can partake in an ‘adult activity’.”1,2
In a report by Philip Morris, referred to by the tobacco company as the Archetype Project, it stresses that in advertising the product, the marketing department should stress that “smoking is for people who like to take risks and are not afraid of taboos, using images of an American identity and emphasizing the ritualistic elements of smoking.” It is clear that many ads of the Be Marlboro campaign are reflective of the guidance provided in the Archetype Project.
1. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. “Maybe You’re The Target.” New Global Marlboro Campaign Found to Target Teens. Retrieved from http://global.tobaccofreekids.org/content/what_we_do/industry_watch/yourethetarget_report.pdf?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=youre-the-target-new-global-marlboro-campaign-found-to-target-teens-pdf-2
2. Levy C. Archetype project summary (internal industry document.) 1991. Bates No. 3990758331/3990758346. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid//zra21j00/pdf.