The Marlboro Story

Case Studies in Business Marketing

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG117
Case Length : 17 Pages
Period : 1950 - 2005
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Philip Morris Inc.
Industry : Tobacco
Countries : USA

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Excerpts Contd...

Marlboro Still Reigns

The US government's report on 'Tobacco Industry Marketing'published in 2005 found that in 2003 Marlboro was the most favored brand among consumers aged between 12 and 17 years. The brand Marlboro it was reported, was consumed by 49 percent of the smokers in that age group.

The report also mentioned that Marlboro was one of the heavily advertised cigarette brands in the US. Marlboro was ranked at number 9 in the most popular global brands by BusinessWeek in 2003.

Although the company abstained from placing its products in movies or television shows, it was observed that Marlboro was one of most visible brands in movies and television shows.

Marlboro cigarettes were seen being smoked by famous artists in various hit movies and popular television shows. According to Nielsen Product Placement, Marlboro was the 'most-exposed brand'on television in 2004.

Apparently, the brand was most exposed on a reality show called The Simple Life, where the protagonist Paris Hilton was often seen smoking Marlboro. Although the television channel marred the Marlboro logo digitally, the brand was still recognizable...


A report by Smith Barney in 2005 stated that the market share for discount brands or low-priced brands accounted for 15% of the total market share. This section had accounted for a mere 2.4% share in 1998.

Analysts opined that Philip Morris had managed to sustain the competition from low-priced products till now by keeping a narrow margin between premium and discount brands. Apart from competition from low-priced products, Philip Morris was also facing a major threat from counterfeit products of its premium brands like Marlboro...


Exhibit I: The Tattooed Man Ad
Exhibit II: A Picture of Marlboro Man
Exhibit III: The Marlboro Country Ad
Exhibit IV: Highlights of US Surgeon General's Report Published in 1964
Exhibit V: The Marlboro Logo
Exhibit VI: MSA's Restrictions on Advertising, Promotion and Marketing of Cigarettes

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