Marlboro Ads Through the Years

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Kolton HuckabyWord Count: 1055
English 101- Section 076
Prof. Michael Shum


Over the years Marlboro has had a clear shift in the way they advertise for their cigarettes. This shift is caused by many social and historical trends of the certain time period. One of the biggest driving forces for the way ads are created is the social class. Throughout history the social class is continually changing and as it changes so do the advertisements that are geared to that social class. This platform of ever-changing advertisements is easily illustrated as one looks from decade to decade. Marlboro’s ad campaigns go from the high class and lavish perspective, to the hardcore man’s man, to the cowboy way of life.

In the 1920’s America was just coming out of World War One was experiencing one of the biggest economic booms in history. As the German’s lost the war they had to pay back large amounts of war reparations but they ran out of money so Washington came up with the Dawes Plan. The Dawes Plan made it so that Washington would invest in Germany so it could pay off its reparations to some nations and those nations paid America.

At this time, Marlboro introduced a slogan called “Mild as May.” The ad featured an obvious high class lady in the background, very elegantly smoking a Marlboro cigarette. This ad points out that the cigarettes have ivory tips to “protect the lips.” This time in history was called the Roaring Twenties. It was a time when America was benefiting from a period of sustained economic prosperity and everybody wanted to be viewed as elegant and wealthy. Marlboro capitalized on that mindset by making ads that suggested smoking their cigarettes would help people gain that social status they so desperately desired. (See Fig. 1)

By the time 1929 rolled around, nearly every American was invested heavily in the stock market. People were buying and selling stock by speculation, using very risky...
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