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Advertising 101: Marlboro man and Future of Advertising.

Advertising is easily one of the most influential art forms of our times. 

While making every small decision in our daily lives, for instance, “What do I wear today?”, “What do I eat?”, “Where do I eat?”, “What do I read or watch?” or even “Where do I go for a vacation this year?” and “Where should I invest my savings?” 

We are consciously or subconsciously influenced by whatever we are consuming in terms of content that we watch, read or hear and a major part of that content is the Advertisements that we consume. 

These Advertisements come as a packaged deal with the content that we consume. 

Though we never watch television or listen to the Radio specifically for these Ads and these may even feel disturbing and irritating at times, however, it is an undeniable fact that a few of these adv’s still manage to plant a seed of awareness in our subconscious minds.

The seed gradually grows its roots and hence, the next time we are to buy a product or service our instinct automatically takes us to the product we saw on the Television. 

We are reminded how that product was voted the best by 9 out of 10 researchers and it “helps” us make the decision-making process easy.

It all started when a business owner/ service provider realized that he needs to do something to expand his reach and get new customers, and he was willing to pay for it. 

He went to a television broadcast network and asked them to run a short commercial about his company and his products, so after that, more people can know about it.

And got the job done!

World’s First Ever TVC by Bulova Watches in 1941.

This was the story of the first TV commercial ever, and the rest is history. 

Memorable Ads  

Throughout history, there have been many memorable advertisements like, the “Action ka school time” ad that after all these years has still managed to hold a special place in the hearts of almost every Indian. 

This ad ran for years and had such a catchy jingle that every 90’s kid had remembered it by heart.

Action Shoes Ad from 90’s.

Watching this ad even after all these years sends you down memory lane, doesn’t it?

Another ad campaign that never failed to put smiles across our faces while effectively delivering their message was the “Hutch’s Dog and Boy campaign”.

Old Hutch Advertisement.

This series of ads revolved around the friendship shared between a young boy and his dog and Hutch conveniently used this friendship to broadcast their brand name and messages seamlessly among the masses.

Like these, several other campaigns were proven hit for their brands and are continuing to do wonders to date.

Some of these have a catchy jingle, some deliver a strong message, some have a great pitch, and some are just funny.

Among all the brilliant ads created, one ad campaign that stands out in the Indian Advertising Network is the “Amul Girl Campaign”.

This hugely popular and adorable “utterly-butterly delicious” girl mascot was born in 1966 at the daChuna Communications, Mumbai, by the hands of art director Eustace Fernandes.

Whereas the famous slogan “utterly butterfly delicious” was written by Nisha da Chuna, the wife of Sylvester daChuna, the owner of the agency.

First ever Amul Ad.

After the first ad turned out to be a massive hit, the agency suddenly had a famous mascot in their hands. 

To harness the newfound popularity, the agency started pushing Amul girl to the fullest. 

And when they had nothing left to say about the brand or product, they started publishing the Amul girl with a funny take on the popularly hot topics of that time.

On the birth anniversary of Dr. Karlen.

And this trend continues, 

Amul promoting Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Since then, it has been more than 6 decades and the Amul girl is still one of the most recognizable faces of Indian Advertising.

Now if that isn’t good advertising, I don’t know what is!

But advertisements are not always remembered for good reasons. 

Many ads have conveniently created their place in the history books of advertising and are still recalled, but for all the bad reasons.

Like Colgate’s senseless, “Kya aapke toothpaste mein namak hai?” campaign.

Or Airtel’s irritating 4G network awareness campaign.

And finally, every fairness cream commercial ever made. 

Every fairness cream commercial has the same theme of how “dark complexion” can keep pulling you down your whole life. 

Let alone creating a positive image for the product, these commercials almost always turn out to be distasteful and ignorant.  

Despite benign so distasteful and stupid, some may still believe that somehow these ads get the work done. 

After all, even after the hate these ads receive, they still manage to make a stir and stay relevant for a much longer time. 

Famous Mascots

We just saw some examples that are remembered because of both good and bad reasons.

But there are some advertising campaigns that are just remembered and even cherished because of their famous mascots.

Just like the Amul girl that helped Amul become the household name that it is today. Many other successful mascots helped their brands get a solid identity and stand out from the competitors, like,

Ronald McDonald (the McDonalds clown).

Chester Cheetah (Cheetos).

Vodafone ZooZoo’s (Vodafone).

One such famous mascot was the Marlboro Man.

The Marlboro Man.

The famous “Marlboro Man” was the campaign that gave birth to the concept of “Sell feelings, not products!” 

And single-handedly revolutionized the world of advertising.

Let’s take a look at how it all started, 

We all know cigarettes out of all other products, have the highest brand loyalty.

Generally, when we go out to shop, we find and select the product that fits our needs. It doesn’t need to be from the same manufacturer every single time. 

Everyone loves to have choices about everything they use. But that’s not the case with cigarettes. Cigarette customers are committed to a single brand for a comparatively longer time.

They find what suits them and remain loyal to their brand.

But this does not mean they can go easy on the advertising, because advertising still plays an important role in the selling of cigarettes. And the important role is to distract people from the fact that their product is eventually going to kill its consumers. 

This importance of advertising was first felt and understood by Marlboro and it helped Marlboro to become the globally successful brand that it is today. 

But it all started with women

Marlboro originally started as a women-centric brand with high-society women as their target audience. 

It was called “Miss. Marlboro” and was termed as a “tea-room cigarette”. To depict its connection to the feminine masses, it came with a red filter tip called the “beauty tip”.

Back then, it was packaged and branded with the tagline, “Mild as may!”    

Mild as may.

This did not work for both men and women. But soon after its transformation in the 1950s, Marlboro became the highest selling cigarette in the world in no time. 

The transformation

Before 1954 cigarettes were advertised as a healthy lifestyle choice. Those ads glorified smoking by making it look healthy. 

But after a study conducted in 1954 came out, it was found that cigarettes were actually a leading cause of cancer.

The “beauty tip” of Marlboro that was once ignored by smokers, turned out to be less dangerous than other cigarettes in the market. This helped increase the sales of Marlboro amongst both men and women.

But the product was still considered feminine by most of its buyers.

Due to which Philip Morris, producer of Marlboro decided on rebranding the product which led to the birth of the Marlboro Man. 

The Marlboro man was the embodiment of what a real man looked and felt like. 

He lived a cowboy lifestyle, living on his terms. The Marlboro man was depicted as the epitome of manliness. He was a hardworking man who was rebellious and strong. 

The Marlboro man became a symbol of freedom and a celebration of manhood because of which every other man wanted to be like him. 

Most of the men dreamt of living a life the cowboy lived while being stuck in their corporate lives. Away from the hustle and bustle of the cities on a farm, working on their terms, doing manly work, and being rigid and rough. 

Everyone wanted to be The Marlboro Man.

And one way to be like him was to smoke the same cigarette he smoked. This helped the buyers to feel the same freedom that the Marlboro man felt in the commercials.

This gave birth to lifestyle advertising.

Lifestyle Advertising is when a brand tries to sell an identity, image, feeling, or attribute rather than its product.

Some good examples of Lifestyle Advertising are Apple, Nike, Puma, and many more.

Mountain Dew and Gillette ads are some of the examples of lifestyle advertising in India.

Mountain Dew Ad featuring Hrithik Roshan.

Gillette Tagline.

People don’t want to be sold a product; they want to be sold a feeling and a connection. Because that’s worth more than the paper it is printed on!

And it was evident by the results that flew in after the first Marlboro Man campaign. In just a few years Marlboro became the largest cigarette distributor in the world.

What we learned from The Marlboro Man

There were numerous cigarette brands in the market when Marlboro thrived. Consumers could have gone with any other brand. But despite all the competition, Marlboro remained on the top, all because of its advertising.

Advertising played the most important role in Marlboro’s success story. 

Which made it clear that the whole point of branding is to make sure the consumer pays for the advertising by thinking that the interchangeable product is unique.

Future of Advertising 

In recent years, advertising has come a long way from print pamphlets and newspaper columns. 

In India only, the advertising industry has grown at a rate of 9.4% over 2018 to reach ₹68,475 crores by the end of 2019. The industry will grow by 10.9% to reach ₹ 75,952 crores by the end of 2020  And is expected to grow at 11.83% CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) to reach a market size of ₹1,33,921 crore by 2025.

Along with this rapid growth, a lot of new trends can be expected to occur in the world of advertising.

The future can bring a lot of new questions in terms of advertising like, 

Will the relevance of creativity be low or high?

Or, Will people be inclined more towards direct advertising?

Will advertisers are using personalized ads on a limited target audience or will they be exercising mass marketing and focus on increasing the reach of their ads?

Several scenarios can take place in the future of advertising,

Creativity Dominance: Advertising Emotions. 

Ads with promotional videos and movies will dominate the market.

AI will record customer emotions and reactions, helping advertisers understand the consumers better. This will help build a better relationship with the audiences/ potential customers. 

Advertisers will look for creative and high-quality production houses to create content that interests consumers based on their likes and dislikes. 

Media houses will slowly kill traditional advertising agencies.

Data-Oriented Advertising

Advertising here will be data-driven.

This means the right person will be targeted at right ads at the right time and the right place. 

Personalized ads will be there, on audience segments created with the data provided to the advertisers.

Advertising automation will be in full control.

Brands will battle for customer loyalty and attention therefore, losses will be subsequent because of the constantly decreasing customer loyalty towards a brand. 

What do you about the Marlboro man and the future of Advertising? Tell me in the comments.

4 thoughts on “Advertising 101: Marlboro man and Future of Advertising.”

  1. Fantastic!
    All the visuals have drawn me back into memory line. Thank you.
    Viewership and listener-ship aka attention has drastically shifted to digital ad campaigns. One interesting fact is that there are still traditional ads in Radio, TV and Newspapers are surviving and successful. I think both campaigns are bisecting themselves towards survival. Undoubtedly there is a paradigm shift.
    May I share a few things: Please change the font to bigger size.
    I came across an article on Traditional Vs Digital last year:https://thisisarray.com/traditional-vs-digital-advertising/
    Please visit my blog.https://digitaltracks.in/
    Thank you.

  2. Simply amazing!!
    Blast from the past ads all have been depicted here and the future of advertising also has been described which is AI. Over all a must read for all who wants to know everything about ads. By seeing the old ads after so many years felt nostalgic and realized that the world is moving forward with abundance of creativity. A good read.

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