Historical Events  Brands
Marlboro Man

Hazardous to your health?

MMDE: Marlboro Man died of lung cancer in the 1990's

Current: Marlboro Man didn't smoke and died in 2019

Young folk today won't even be aware that there used to be plenty of advertisements for cigarettes.

These adverts have been banned for years now as a result of the overwhelming evidence of the damage they cause to health. However, when they were running, none were more famous than the Marlboro Man.

Played by Robert Norris, who was a friend of John Wayne, the campaign was conceived in 1954 and has been described as one of the most successful of all time. It featured a rugged lone cowboy with the slogan "Come to Marlboro Country".

Many remember Robert Norris dying of lung cancer in the 1990's, so it came as quite a shock to hear lived to the age of 90 when he died in 2019. Even more surprising - he never smoked a single cigarette in his life.

Others were not so lucky

Most of the other actors who portrayed the Marlboro Man did smoke and their deaths were from smoking related diseases.

Advertising campaign

Few people realise that before the Marlboro man adverts, their main theme was actually feminine - it had the slogan "Mild as May". The Marlboro brand was introduced in 1924 by Phillip Morris & Co as a women's cigarette, after they began to add filters, which were seen as "weakening" the smoking experience. After the aggressive launch with the masculine emphasis, the whole image was completely turned around in just a few short months. Cowboys were an instant hit, and projected the image needed for long term appeal to it's target audience. It appealed to the basic male instinct of wanting to be associated with the rugged, good looking image it projected. Even the Rolling Stones  mentioned this in their famous Satisfaction song.