Marlboro Man - The rugged cowboy character seen in
a number of TV commercials and print ads since the 1950s. Philip Morris had
introduced Marlboro brand as a woman’s cigarette in 1924 but decided to revise
the brand in 1955. Dropping the idea of a red-tipped cigarette with the slogan
"Fresh as the month of May", the Leo Burnett Agency changed the former feminine
brand into a masculine product that soon began to sell millions.
The concept of a cowboy character in the original print campaign was inspired by a photograph
that appeared in an issue of Life magazine in 1949. It featured a
close-up of a rugged weather-worn 39-year-old Texas ranch foreman named Clarence
Hailey Long with a cowboy hat on his head and cigarette in his mouth.
Actors to portray the Marlboro Man were Darrell Winfield (who appeared the
majority of the print ads), Dick Hammer, Dean Myers, Robert Norris, Tom Mattox
and John Bryant (best remembered as the original "Marlboro Man." He went on to
play Dr. Robert Spaulding on the TV western, THE VIRGINIAN). In 1964, the
company revived the cowboy and gave him a mythical land all his own known as
The Marlboro TV commercials were discontinued when tobacco advertisements
were legislated off the air in the 1970s (and later radio, billboards and print
advertisements in youth markets.)
Even with the TV ban, Marlboro became the No. 1 tobacco brand in the world in
1972. Marlboro slogans included: "Come to Marlboro Country"; "Come to where the
flavor is"; and "You get a lot to like with a Marlboro."
Although extremely successful and
one of the top ad campaigns of all time, the Marlboro campaign was at odds with
logic. Why? Well, here is a man who is out in the middle of the wilderness,
riding the range at the foot of the snowcapped Rocky Mountains and having
immediate access to all the fresh air he could ever possibly want, but for some
reason (nicotine addiction?) he has the need to light up a cigarette and pollute
his lungs and stink up the air. I just don't get.
Wayne McLaren, rode rider, actor, Hollywood stuntman and one of the Marlboro cigarette cowboys,
became an anti-smoking advocate after he developed cancer., A former
pack-and-a-half day smoker, he died in 1992 at the age of 51. The original
Marlboro Man, David Millar, Jr. died of emphysema in 1987. The widow of Marlboro
Man David McLean, who died of lung cancer, sued the company for damages.
Other tobacco spokesmen such as David Goerlitz, the Winston Man from 1981 to 1987, was
disabled by a stroke in his mid-30s. He lost feeling in his left leg, left side
of his face and lost his sense of taste. Will Thornbury, a Camel model, died of
lung cancer at age of 56 in 1992; and Janet Sackman, a former Lucky Strike girl
in the 1950s lost her voice box and part of a lung to cancer (Plain Truth
April, 1993 p. 28).
In 2003, Marlboro changed their company name to Altria Group,
Inc. Their name may have changed, but the cancer their cigarettes causes still
remains the same. One of the most ironic things about Altria Group, Inc. is that
they produce anti-tobacco commercials warning of the dangers and addictive
nature of smoking.
The ad features the voice-over narration of a sympathetic
female telling the viewers that "There are not safe cigarettes." Yet Altria
Group, (Philip Morris) knowing full well, the dangers of tobacco use, still
manufactures them. So much for the corporate love of the almighty dollar over
the real health and well-being of America.
TRIVIA NOTE: US Marine
lance corporal James Blake Miller had his photograph taken while serving in Fallujah
with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines Millions during 2004 in the
Photographed by Luis Sinco of the Los Angeles Times, the media picked
up the November 10th, 2004 picture of a war weary soldier with a dirty face and cigarette dangling
from his lips and Miller was dubbed "The Marlboro Man."
Miller joined the Marines after graduating in 2003. He returned to America,
helped with the Katrina Hurricane clean up and later wad diagnosed with
post-traumatic stress disorder and given an honorable discharge.
While in Irag, Maj. Gen. Richard Natonski, commander of the 1st Marine
Division, told Miller 'You're a pretty famous Marine today...Your picture is all
over the United States right now. They were saying the picture would go into
Finally, in an ironic twist, the potent macho image of the rugged "masculine"
Marlboro Man may have bitten the dust with millions of "straight" smokers with
the airing of film Brokeback Mountain (2006), a tale of two cowboys
exploring homosexuality in the wilderness. Managing
Editor, David Kupelian's commentary at WorldNetDaily.com (WND) referred to the
the "Rape of the Marlboro Man."