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 Write rhetorical analysis on marlboro cigarette……….

The Marlboro cigarette brand can be traced back in 1824 in England. The brand name came about due to its location in Marlborough Street in London. The brand was brought into U.S in the year 1902 but failed; hence its supply was discontinued. However it was later reintroduced in 1920’s targeting women as a filter cigarette. A research that was conducted in 1950’s which revealed an increase in the rate of lung cancer led to higher publicity and demand for filter cigarettes. Leo Burnett who was a Chicago executive in advertising was given the responsibility to make the brand more appealing to the men’s market being one of the most successive advertising executive. He associated the brand with masculine figures such as athletes and sea captains where he used a series of male models like Darrell Winfield who was a rancher in California (Howard, 2008). This increased the sales as the image of the advert was applied in U.S between the year 1954 and 1999. The campaign was successful in transforming Marlboro into the best selling cigarette due to various elements which include; Association, conformity, inalienability and inexpansibility.


The image of the Marlboro used matched with the forms of masculinity, independence, courage, freedom and unspoken sexiness which countered the high concern for health as a result of smoking. For instance, in a TV advert a wild stallion portrayed an image of masculinity, independence and being undomesticated. In the hot pursuit of the Stallion is a cowhand where the rancher is depicted lighting up a Marlboro brand as he meditates what is in progress. Throughout the advert the element of conformity is used to uplift the status and attraction of the Marlboro product.


The Marlboro man image product is related with the western culture specifically America which has been shaped by its experience emphasizing on autonomy and freedom abandoning the outdated customs. This is a well established mythology which is highly articulated in the popular culture. The Marlboro product was associated with the famous movie stars, directors and TV programs to show how popular the culture was with the Marlboro smoking (Baumann, 2001).


Despite advertisement campaigns being short lived due to their nature and lack of insulation from the political and economic interests, this advert was in existence for fifty years. This was due to its association with a profoundly formed mythology of the western America and also due to great status and the process as discussed.


As a result of the medical research which illustrated the illness associated with smoking, it was not easy to convince a cow-boy that death by cancer was the best way to show how masculine and autonomy he was. The status of smoking associated with coolness was immensely reduced which affected the cigarette brands hence a decline was observed in its consumption in U.S. laws were passed to reduce the marketing and advertising a move that saw a sharp decline in its consumption (Milner, 2010). Besides the revolution in culture back in 1960’s and 1970s lowered the mythology of the western culture where a new era of femininity came up that questioned the legitimacy of male dominated society (Barbara. 2002). Hence the pleasures of western culture and smoking were highly critiqued thereby the slumping of Marlboro man image (Shyon, 2007).

The anti-smoking campaigns

Various anti-smoking groups came up especially cancer charities and other government health departments which made efforts to counter tobacco adverts by emphasizing on the negative impacts of smoking. The earlier campaigns shifted their attention on supporting smoking cessation, the high risk of cancer of the lungs and the problems related with inactive smoking. The government of Britain had an expenditure of about £31 million in 2003 towards the anti-smoking campaign. The department of Health in U.S established a sequence of anti-smoking campaigns in 2007 and 2008 in New York City to enhance the city’s freedom from nicotine patch and gum program. Various TV commercials tried to warn the citizens against the dangers of smoking which depicted smoking to be damaging our bodies. Various case studies were used to show how bad smoking was for example; the revelation from a 58 year old tobacco aIDict woman who shared the pain she underwent as a result of amputations due to Buerger’s disease caused by excessive smoking habit. The Marlboro man Wayne McLaren was shown over the television in hospital bed suffering from cancer who later succumbed to the disease in1992. Through the incidence, a warning was issued to the smokers about the dangers of smoking.

With the high restrictions on smoking as depicted by the anti-smoking campaigns the companies in tobacco industry had to change tactics on how they could maintain the existing customers and getting new customers. For instance, Tobacco firms used Altria strategy that focused on promotions that enhance brand equity via experience by the adult consumer. The purpose was to place reinforcement on loyalty to brand by establishing a community of consumers. Marlboro used this strategy where invitations were made to smokers to form a four member group to compete in a sequence of enigmatic brain puzzles. This saw the top 20 team member getting invited to Marlboro ranch which was totally sponsored by the company in terms of food, drinks and smoking was allowed. Thousands of teams engaged in the competition where the winning team was to share a prize of One million dollars. Reinforcement was enhanced by finely branded products and use of peers. Besides, there was massive application of internet and social networking which campaigned for cigars markets.

Literature on the present Tobacco campaign

In relation to Saffer and Chaloupka, (2000), various experts in public health claimed that tobacco adverts promoted the consumption of cigarettes which indicated there was a great effect of the adverts on the tobacco use particularly in young adults. Quite an expanse of practical literature exists to support this. This is mainly through data mining. Nelson, (2010) in his review revealed that the adverts on smoking and drinking had a greater influence on the youth way of life which through critical assessment, it was found that more youth were likely to engage in smoking related to celebrities. Biener and Siegel, (2000) revealed that tobacco advert among a cohort of adolescents made many of them to experiment as many of them were highly receptive on tobacco adverts as evidenced by preference for school bags, sport gear and clothing branded with tobacco firms logos. Choi, et al., (2002), revealed that about 32 % of the adolescents who started as curious trial later made progressed into serious smokers. Most of the youth who did smoke also had a bad relationship with the parents and that most of them had peers who were smoking and hence easily influenced. Moreover, the researchers asserted that the highest progression into the behavior was by those adolescents influenced by the advertisement and who thought that they could quit at any time than those who never thought of quitting.




Baumann, Shyon, (2007). “A general theory of artistic legitimating: How art worlds are like

Social Movements,” Poetics, 35: 47–65.

Becker, Howard S., (2008) [1982], Art Worlds, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Biener L, Siegel M (2000). Tobacco marketing and adolescent smoking: more support for

Casual inference Journal of economic Public Health 90 (3): 407–11.

Choi WS, Ahluwalia JS, Harris KJ, Okuyemi K (2002), Progression to established smoking:

The influence of tobacco marketing, Journal of Previewed Medicine 22 (4)

Godard, Barbara. ,(2002) “Feminist Periodicals and the Production of Cultural Value: The

            Canadian Context,” Women’s Studies International Forum, 25: 2: 209-223.

Murray Milner, (2010), The Rise and fall of an Icon: the Case of the Marlboro Man, Institute for

Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia

Nelson J.P, (2010), “What is learned from Longitudinal Studies of Advertising and Youth

Drinking and Smoking? A Critical Assessment,” International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health, 7(3), pp. 870-926.

Saffer H, Chaloupka F (November 2000). The effect of tobacco advertising bans on tobacco

Consumption, Journal of Health Economics 19 (6): 1117–37.

Shyon Baumann, (2010) “Intellectualization and Art World Development: Film in the United

            States,American Sociological Review, 66: 3 (Jun.): 404-426.


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