Saturday, October 3, 2009

Welcome to Marlboro Country

A old famous commercial of Marlboro


"’The Era of Globalization’ is fast becoming the preferred term for describing the current times” (by Keith Porter1). We totally agree what the author said. People around the world are now more connected to each other. They communicate with each other through economies, societies and even culture aspects. And this phenomenon calls “Globalization”.
Seem globalization is becoming increasingly important to the organizations in the world. Today we are going to bring you to one of the successful globalized company--Marlboro.
Although killing people is generally not a good business practice, Marlboro seems to be having unbelievable success. From an unknown brand in 1955, Marlboro has steadily increased sales, being the “top selling brand in the U.S. and an all-time-best seller in the world,” in just 1975. Then, in 1989, it took hold of almost one-fourth of all cigarette sales, and today it remains “the world’s most profitable brand of non durable goods, surpassing even Coca-Cola!”(By Jessica Jaffe2)

Let's have a deep look of it!

Steps to Global
In WW2, Marlboro produced tobacco for the Army. So it got the popular support when the war was over. Afterward, Marlboro has established very well in the developed countries after WW2. But recently, smoking is largely suppressed in these developed countries, such as the ban of advertisement in the social media, ban of indoor smoking, etc. It largely hurts the revenue from these countries. So Marlboro turns the attention to the developing countries. It starts to launch a massive marketing campaign in these developing countries, such as Southeast Asia, China, Africa.

Slogan: Come to Marlboro Country
The word “country” has double meanings. One is the countryside of the West; the other is the nation, the America. If we stick to the second one, we can realize that the “country” implies the American identity so the advertisements try to construct an illusive American identity in their consumers. Moreover, it means that the products will be sold to the world. At the same time, remind others that Marlboro is an American brand.

Welcome to Marlboro Country

Marlboro is a famous brand of cigarette made by Philip Morris UA. Marlboro launched its first business in USA. In the early 1960s Philip Morris invented "Marlboro Country" and distilled their manly imagery into the rugged cowboys known as the "Marlboro Men". A cowboy, western landscape and red color reminded audience the Marlboro trademark. It led Marlboro to the global dominance.

Other than established its own imagery, Marlboro has sought to maximize global awareness of its product by sponsoring motor racing. For instance, Marlboro had sponsored Formula One in the past. Formula One has an image of dynamic, macho and international which potentially bring these image values to Marlboro. Now, Marlboro is sponsoring Team Penske in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series and adult cigarette smokers and trade partners will be invited by the Marlboro brand to IndyCar Series races around the country to support Team Penske.

Just like what Venture Republic mention that “Culture becomes a very crucial factor that determines the band’s success. Many global brands have dealt with cultural issues very well and have adopted their brands to suit the diverse cultural demands of different regions in which they operate.”(Venture Republic, Cross-cultural branding and leadership)Marlboro realize the importance of Culture difference, it try to identified core similarities in the lifestyles and needs of young consumers worldwide, such as independence, enjoyment, freedom, and comfort. It adopted standardized global marketing efforts, creating a central brand images and promotions, but allowing regional managers to create regionally appropriate individual advertisements and different taste if necessary. For example, Marlboro produces different type of cigarette for different markets with respect to tar, nicotine and nitrosamine content. It tried to balance the standardization with customization. And this strategy suit the diverse cultural demands of different regions in which it operates. It helped Marlboro successfully enters into different culture.

Get support from Alliance
Marlboro understands that there is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy interests. So it tried to avoid conflicts of interest for government officials and employees. PMI reports meeting with 2,800 government agencies and 8,000 government employees to promote its system for tracking and tracing cigarette products. Through these effort, Marlboro established relationship within the governments. For example, this year, Philippines customs authorities signed a Memorandum of Understanding with PMI; Marlboro will presumably gain access to law enforcement personnel and customs data. 3

In 2005, Marlboro signed two cooperation agreements with the China Tobacco Corporation. First, producing Marlboro cigarettes in China; second, establishing joint ventures abroad. Due to these agreements, Marlboro can not only enjoy the lower production cost, but also open up the foreign market for Chinese cigarettes (joint venture provided comprehensive Chinese style cigarette series). Meanwhile, Morris International has the biggest competitiveness enjoying a huge advantage in the strictly-controlled Chinese market. 4

Intercultural Communication

“Intercultural Communication” is always a complicated term. Thomas Friedman has claimed that “Intercultural communication theory, namely, our very understanding of culture, society, and communication.”(The Lexus and the Olive Tree, 1999). So, how Marlboro builds up its intercultural network, and satisfy different culture and society to achieve the goal of communication? Let have a look on it!

Operation in the local factories
Marlboro sets up joint venture to manufacture the tobacco in different countries, usually the production is for local consumption and for export to the near regions. But the working cultures differ across different countries. Thus, it is quite impossible for the products will be homogenous in the worldwide due to the difference in working practices. According to the article addressed by SUSUMU YOSHIDA, 2002 "Few people realize the importance of training to training to overcome the communication barriers." (Globalization and Issues of Intercultural Communications). In order to solve this problem, Marlboro hires local people to be the manager in different factories, thus the managers can communicate better with the local workers. Local managers must have a better understanding in the local culture, background, value and norms. As a result, this can enhance the effectiveness of intercultural communication. For example, a Japanese manager will be hired instead of an American, it enable him to communicate better with the local Japanese workers.

Standardized production method
The working cultures are different in different countries. They have different working practices all over the world. For example, in some culture, some prefer a warmer working condition, and some prefer a cooler one. But the indoor temperature will affect the quality of the tobacco. So a set of standardized rule is set to ensure the products all over the world are more or less the same. These standard rules are applied to the production process ranging from conditioning, casing, cutting, drying, flavoring to blending. 5

Extensive research in the taste of customers
Since the culture and taste are quite different in the countries. So Marlboro, as a global company, tries to fit the needs of different taste. Thus, Marlboro conducted lifestyle studies, brand communications and brand images in Hong Kong, China, Korea, Malaysia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, etc. Local research firms do extensive researches to find out the lifestyle. For instance, a Hong Kong research firm will be hired to conduct the researches for Hong Kong people. It ensures the accuracy of the result. 6

Local Cultural and Individual Identity
Marlboro Man gives the positive image for smoking by global marketing
Everyone knows that smoking is undoubtedly harmful and unhealthy. But the Marlboro Man suggests another view. It gives us a cool, strong feeling, which is shown in the advertisements. Although Marlboro does not tell us in words, not saying “Smoking is cool”, it is the feeling that everyone receives. It affects the perception of people in the world toward smoking, especially young adults who are mentally immature. The young adults are easily affected by the advertisements. This is used to develop a global Marlboro brand identity and positioning. The marketing strategy successfully turns smoking and Marlboro from bad to not bad in the eye of almost every global citizen. It positives the global view to smoking and more importantly Marlboro.

Globalization of Marlboro enhances the intercultural communication in a manner. For example, there are now over hundred international groups of Marlboro in Facebook. Facebook provide a platform to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. The smokers could communicate and share their common interest by adding other members in the group.

However, as the Marlboro Man permeates in different countries, it led to more and more people light up the cigarettes. This situation is serious as smoking is now not only the adult’s privilege, but also the teenagers’. Marlboro Man sends the message of adventure, independence, freedom, and heroism to the youngsters. Mislead them a scene of fashion and trendy. Even people know that it harms their health, Marlboro become an object of worship. In Hong Kong, for example, there are many slogans which praise this evil corporation such as” 漫漫長路買包萬寶路” (Buy a Marlboro in this livelong way) and “讀萬卷書不如食萬寶路” (Having a Marlboro rather than studying hard). Just like some people said that “呢個係男人既世界, 呢個係萬寶路既世界” (This is the world of man, this is the world of Marlboro). We can see the power of Marlboro.

At the same time, it enhances the cooperation within different countries. Its influence is far-reaching for the human health. Different countries work together of anti-tobacco campaigns. For instance, WTO set the “World No Tobacco Day” on every 31 May. Also there are many organization and activities to against it. Marlboro indirectly link different countries connected with each other.

A Corporate Social Responsibe Company?
Marlboro tries to being a Social Responsible Corporation. It concerns the environment impact of its operations, such as air emissions, waste generation and water consumption. Marlboro implemented an energy efficiency program in its factories which could reduce the emission rate. Besides, most of its facilities have achieved environmental management system certification from the International Organization for Standardization.

Marlboro realizes the importance of youngsters’ education. It gave financial support to the teachers, community organizations, youngster experts and hygiene units in more than fifty countries.7

Moreover, Marlboro support community initiatives in countries around the world, such as response to the Asian tsunami, programs against domestic violence, shelters for street children or food drives for the hungry. In 2008, it made charitable contributions approximately $20 million.

Or a Evil Corporation?
Marlboro tries to make smoking less evil by launching new packages and flavors of cigarettes. The products branded "smooth", "silver" or "gold" are generally believed to be healthier and easier to give up, according to a survey. In our opinion, these subtle changes are not ethical. Because it tried to make people think it is less harmful than the original red one. Actually, it is not the case; they are equally harmful from the scientific researches. It misleads the customers in an indirect way by giving implying information to customers that it is not as harmful as the red one. As a result, it will attract lots of potential customers, who will not smoke before if there is only the original red one.

Although tobacco advertisement is banned in many countries, Marlboro launches the campaign in other countries which are non-smoking-ban, are totally unethical. For example, in Indonesia, there are Marlboro man giant billboards and Marlboro-sponsored kiosks everywhere. Marlboro targets the teenagers as they can be long term customers in the future. Teenagers, who are not mature enough, will be addicted to smoking easily, influenced by the mass advertisements. Moreover, in Russia, he wants the brand focus on “Dad’s smoke”. It tries to make the children to follow their dad to smoke. It will increase the chance the minors will smoke. It is something unethical. From the pictures, what you can see is something attract youngsters, and even children attention.

Marlboro claimed that it does not encourage people to smoke, just to encourage people to have higher quality cigarettes. It is apparently false. If it is true why there is Marlboro man, who makes people think smoking is so cool, or I will be as handsome

as Marlboro man when I smoke. It is sure that Marlboro is
attracting new customers.

The war against smoking
As the vector of the tobacco epidemic, the tobacco industry's actions fall far outside of the boundaries of global corporate responsibility. Therefore, global and local actions should not provide the tobacco industry with the two things that it needs to ensure its long term profitability: respectability and predictability.

Non-smoking measures are in fact still controversial. From the liberal point of view, the measures are limiting a person's choice and freedom. However, anti-smoking is certainly a mainstream of the world community. So we support the world keep the anti-smoking movement.

Thank You!
First of all, thank you for all the comments, which kindly lead us make improvements. During the discussion, there is a question that seems interesting and causes a number of responses. Is Marlboro a necessary devil? So our group wants to show our stance here.

Our View of "Evil"

Undoubtedly, Marlboro sells the tobacco which is harmful to the smokers and also to the non-smokers. Or you can say if there is no Marlboro, there will be other tobacco companies. People will still smoke once they are addicted to smoking. Yes this is somewhat true. However, Marlboro encourages immature teenagers to smoke.

The marketing strategies of Marlboro can be described as misleading. It misleads the teenagers, who is immature, to think that they can be as cool as the Marlboro Man if they smoke. The advertisement hides the horrible truth of smoking by putting the cool image that is not true in front. It attracts the immature teenagers that do not know the adverse effects of smoking. From this point of view, Marlboro is unethical to promote this brand using these marketing strategies.

I hope the above one clearly illustrates our stance towards the moral issue of Marlboro, which lots of us talking about in the discussion. Thank you once again for the comments. See you next time.

(Limited to adult smokers 21 years of age or older)





5PM’s Global Strategy: Marlboro Product Technology, B&W, 1992

6 How Philip Morris built Marlboro into a global brand for young adults: implications for international tobacco control, N Hafez and P M Ling, 2005



  1. Hey laughingers, I love reading your blog posting about the Marlboro. I learn from this story a lot. Smoking is certainly unhealthy to human beings. Everyone knows it. But there will be some people who can’t quit smoking because of the cultural factors like the French, they used to smoke a lot. Or will the aged Chinese smoking habit influenced by the old day of smoking opium? I want to figure out more about the smoking culture in different regions and compare with the perceptions of Hong Kong people.

    Marlboro did very successful in promoting the ideas of “smoking one time doesn’t harm you.” Although there is prohibit to advertise any of the tobacco products, there are still so many people consume cigarettes. For me, I don’t like the taste of the cigarettes. I did try once when I was a kid and I still remembered it has a nasty taste. I will never change my mind and I won’t try the second time in my lifetime. Since I am not a smoker, I wonder whether it would be easy to quit smoking if one has determination to do so. I think it always work if people around you, your family and your intimate friends are supporting you. However, it is not the case, it is because there are really too many people already start smoking and it becomes a habit in their life. That is the peer pressure around you to encourage you to smoke. It is like a kind of activities that MEN will participate in it. If you don’t want to segregate with MEN, then what you need to do is to learn to smoke. That’s very disguising. It is my belief towards the smoking habit. But is it the case?

    Since I don’t like smoking, but Marlboro is actually doing a great job in marketing. They attached a strong local culture for this globalized American brand. Take Hong Kong as an example, the slogan they promoted” 讀萬卷書不如食萬寶路” (Having a Marlboro rather than studying hard) is hard to understand if you are not Chinese. Foreigners will even think it is a non-sense when comparing study to smoke. But that’s what Marlboro act locally. It is what we called” Glocalisation. Global strategy act locally.

    In my opinion, Marlboro is not doing the evil things. If there are smokers, there are smoking companies who served this kind of customers. You all have also mentioned some corporate social activities that Marlboro had done. They contribute very much to the society. I think the major target customers of Marlboro are those who used to smoke a lot and want them to switch their preference to Marlboro. The main target is not the teenagers but It is the teenagers who want to imitate the adult.

    Really, really, thanks so much about your post on Marlboro Company. This is a magical company that can stand still in the market although it conflict with the moral of society.

  2. Dear Laughing,

    Thanks a lot for taking all the efforts to spread the knowledge about Marlboro. It did enable me to get to know more about them as a brand since I personally never bothered to go online and know about a brand that I detested and believed it to be 'evil'. So, I guess my views would be slightly prejudiced and biased in this comment of mine!

    Firstly, I think you could have given a brief background about the video that you decided to embedd in the beginning of the blog. The video is a very old commerical by Marlboro and I believe it is highly ironical that they used the song by The Beatles called "Happiness is a warm gun" because the song actually tries to imply that taking drugs is equivalent to having a gun in your hand. You like it in the beginning and feel brave but the moment you hit the trigger, you are most likely to end your life- Bang Bang Shoot Shoot. It talks about drugs and sex which are addictive. However, it tries to promote Marlboro, which is the new form of addiction. It is a 'legal addiction' unlike Drugs!

    By using terms like Marlboro Country, I think they are trying to establish that the people who use it are a part of a different league altogether and they live in a different world- A very smart marketing strategy indeed! It is more of a status symbol that they want their customers to have. Moreover, by using cowboys and calling a Marlboro customer as 'Marlboro Man' they are implying the whole idea of the importance of 'cult of machismo' to a man and reap the benefits from it!

    Furthermore, I believe that since Marlboro is criticised all over the world by non-smokers, the only way they can exhibit themselves to be 'good' is by claiming to behave in a socially responsible manner. But, the question arises that whethere they are doing enough to cover all the damages that they have caused and could cause due to the sale of such an addictive and unhealthy product? Is it ethical to take advantage of people's weakness and sell them something that could kill them slowly? For example, thier market in China is huge because right since the olden times when Chinese people were addicted to opium to today when they are now addicted to smoking, every 'outsider' is trying to take advantage of this weakness of theirs!

    Interestingly, from my readings and understandings, not a single scientist has experimentally PROVEN that smoking is injurious to health. The claims that are being made are pure STRONG CORELATION but NOT experimentally proven! Something I believe you can research on!

    - GS =D

  3. Your group really did a great and challenging job on this brand, Marlboro. It is known to everyone that smoking is harmful. However, Marlboro, after all, is a company and making a profit is always the goal in its nature. So, it seems that we are on a dilemma. When it comes to a health problem, in particular, we are totally stuck. Should we act against this cigarette company or just let it go according to “a supply and demand” theory.

    As you have mentioned in” Local cultural and Individual Identity”, Marlboro gives a “positive” image for smoking, turning smoking and Marlboro from bad to not bad. From my viewpoint, it’s just a marketing skills by de-emphasizing “smoking is cool” but what you feel by smoking. It’s likely to imply that smoking is an enjoyment. As for those innocent teenagers who love to seek excitement and enjoyment, they may take their first step to smoking. Is it an evil conspiracy? I think so! Whatever they do on advertising, the only goal would be the desire of pushing up the sales. Evil is an evil no matter what it does.

    Ya. It is true that Marlboro have done a lot for charity. But is it also a plot to promote its reputation, making it less evil? I think Marlboro is similar to Jockey Club. We all know that indulged in horse racing is bad. However, Jockey Club also contributes a lot to the community such as providing financial support to our university, CityU. On one hand, it promotes quit betting on horses; but on the other hand, it is its own business. Is it doing anything contradicts itself? In my opinion, both Marlboro and Jockey Club are necessary evil. They both do something good and bad. Because of the demand, it is unlikely to be eradicated.

    By the way, your group forgot to make some suggestions for Marlboro, government and other departments concerned to improve the situation. It would be better if you could add it as well. Let me give you one. I think Government should convey the right message to the public such as the harm of smoking by launching an anti-smoking campaign or through education. After all, whether to smoke or not, it‘s our choice.

    ^^Thank you for your sharing. I really enjoy it. Hope to see your next post.

  4. Malboro did very great in their marketing strategy. They try to convince people that smoke is not bad and give the positive image to public that “smoking is cool”. Show people who consume Malboro are actually showing others about their cultural identity. Their advertisements are success in some extent. Everyone knows smoke is harm to health but they successfully comfort their customers. By telling them Malboro has more value which is able to reflect their social status and personalities.

    I agree with what mgt3430- JC.Astronaut said.Malboro is not evil.Teenagers started to smoke because they watched the advertisements of Malboro. This doesn’t make sense. Nobody compel teenagers to smoke. Should we blame on anyone because we cannot control of ourselves well and get rid of the temptation. Malboro may do something wrong. They distorted the right or wrong and use the scientific research to convince consumers that smoke is not bad. We can blame them on this. But this doesn’t mean their brand equal to evil. People should take their own responsibility of what they behave rather than shuffle the responsibility on the external factors. For those who want to imitate adult, the first thing they should start to do is taking responsibility of their behaviours.

    The blog would be more interesting if you guys can write something about the impact of Malboro on Hong Kong culture and what the Hong Kong culture react. For example, more places are not allowed smoking but the number of smoking people doesn’t decrease and government increases the tariff recently so Hong Kong people chose to purchase in China which is cheaper. Are these mean ‘cool’ is very important in Hong Kong culture so people are not eager to abandon this identity?

    This brand is really challenging and I appreciate the courage o you guys choosing this. Anyway, thank you for the brilliant work

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  6. As the classmates mention above, should people blame on Malboro? I think the case of McDonald's is almost the same as Malboro. Do you think French fried is healthy? It is all known that fast food may lead to obesity and people who eat fast food have a higher rate to have heart attack. They are evil, but there is no one pointing you head with a gun and force you to buy it. It only give you one more choice.

    Malboro should do some regulations when the need of local market changes. Just like in Hong Kong, smoking are prohibited in office building and indoor. Adventisment of smoking also banned. What will Malboro do in this situation? It will just put the Hong Kong market aside or it will try some other practise to retain its business in Hong Kong?

    Thanks For sharing this interesting topic~

  7. Thank you laughing for sharing Marlboro, which is an unfamiliar company for me. I believe it is a very challenging task to analyze the work Marlboro has done. Actually, Marlboro has done a great job on globalization. We can buy Marlboro conveniently all over the world.

    I agree with the above classmates that Marlboro is not so evil. The existence of Marlboro is based on the "demand and supply" relationship in smoking area. People would not quit smoking if Marlboro did not exist. People should not blame on Marlboro so much.

    In the light of this, I think Marlboro can do social responsible work to cover its harm to human health. Besides those job Marlboro are now doing such as donating money to support youngsters' education, Marlboro can do more. For example, Marlboro promotes taking cigarette as a way for relaxing and releasing people's stress, it is a sense of freedom. However, freedom does not mean that people can litter the stub everywhere, especially in China and Hong Kong. I suggest Marlboro to make some advertisements to educate people not to throw the cigarette butt everywhere in order to keep hygienic and safe.

    In addition to manufacturing different taste(smell) of cigarette for different countries, I advise Marlboro can make different size or form of cigarette for the different nations for adapting to different cultures. For instance, short and thin cigarette may be popular in Japan as Japanese like tiny things like sushi. And big cigarette may be famous in USA just like large Hamburger does there. Besides, taking cigar and tobacco pipe is a symbol of senior positioning. If Marlboro can produce some cigar or pipe, it should be a chance for it to reinforce its business in China.

    Thank you so much for you critical analysis on Marlboro, you help us to view Marlboro from another manner.

  8. Thank you for sharing of the blog! I think your group has done a good job.

    It really makes me confused whether we should blame on Marlboro. All of us know that smoking is harmful for our health. However, why so many people still smoking and also the number of people who smoke is increasing every year. It come to my mind that “Are people smoke just because of marking strategy of Marlboro like 讀萬卷書不如食萬寶路? Sometimes, people smoke because of curiosity or influenced by others. In fact, no one force them to smoke. They have the right to choose smoke or not smoke that we cannot control them. Take a simple example; there is no drug advertisement in the market. However, why there are still so many people take drug in their daily life? Of course, they know taking drug is not good for their health and they should take the responsibility once they choose to take drug or smoke.

    On the other hands, I think Marlboro is very successful in globalization. They have different kind of cigarette to fix different kind of people’ needs. For example, they have different degree of nicotine or taste to fix different kind of people’ need in the world. However, I want to know how Marlboro affect local culture.

    Anyway, smoking is not good for our health. Although we cannot prohibit people from smoking, we can encourage people not to smoke. For example, Hong Kong government increases the tax of cigarette to discourage smoking.

    As Small potatoes mentioned, I think it is good for your blog to include the suggestion to Marlboro. For example, we can suggest Marlboro change all cigarette to low degree of nicotine in order to minimize the harm of people.

  9. Thank you for your sharing,laughing:)

    As we all know,there are many people smoking all over the world.I think this behaviour has already globalized,so does Marlboro.We can buy this brand of cigarettes easily nowadays.

    However,I do think that Marlboro is an irresponsible corporation,like an evil,as it used to promote smoking as cool and handsome for men,which is a kind of misleading.It does really affect the local culture that I can see more and more youngsters,especially boys,are trying to smoke as they think they can attract girls through smoking!What a pity for those immature boys!

    What more,even though Marlboro tried to implement an energy efficiency program,still,I think it is not that social responsible.It is because when people are smoking,the smoke they breathe out is already a type of air pollution and 'force' others to breathe secondhand smoke.

    For the working cultures of Marlboro,it used to hire local people to be managers in order to have better communication with local workers.But I do think that in order to promote intercultural communication,it should try to hire people of different countries to work together so that different working cultures can be exchanged.

    Moreover,I wanna know are there any differences between the cigarettes in different countries,in the aspects of taste,packaging,etc.?As I haven't seen the Tweety package in HK.

    I am the one who hate smoking very much!I am sorry that if my comments are too subjective.
    Thank for your sharing again:)Keep on laughing:)

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  11. Thank you for sharing this blog. I think your group really does a good job. For me, it is very challenging. Since there is a forbidden in advertising in Marlboro, we don’t know much about Marlboro, especially for me, a non-smoker.

    I have different point of view with most of the viewers. I think Marlboro is really a “EVIL”. I think it is a “EVIL” not because of producing cigarette. It is because of the marketing strategy. Since smoking is harm and unhealthy, I think it is better banning all advertisements. Advertisements really affect most of the audience. If the teenagers or a child watch the advertisements, they may think smoking is good for them, such as appearance, cool, releasing stress. But smoking is it really can those effects?? I don’t think so…In my point of view, smoking is not good, it gives a big image to others. The smokers will look as a bad guy. They will speak a foul language. What I feel is really opposite to the advertisement shown. Since children and teenagers are not mature enough, they may think what advertisement shown is the truth they did.

    Advertisement is not banned in Indonesia, there are Marlboro man giant billboards everywhere. Their target market is the teenagers because they are easily attracted by the ads. I think this action really unethical because they make use of the teenagers’ curiosity. Teenagers are not mature enough to determine what is good and what is bad for them. But Marlboro notice the teenagers’ “weakness” and promote them to smoke. It is really not ethical enough. I know that advertisements really effective in promotion. But I think it must be done in ETHICAL way. It must give the right image to the audience.

    Marlboro is very success in Hong Kong, but it is not because of the ads. Therefore, we can see that without ads, the sales of Marlboro can also attain in a high level. It is successful in Hong Kong because it is well-known and the word of mouth. In Hong Kong, there are no cigarette ads, but why there are still many people like Marlboro??? Simply speaking, it is because Marlboro is the most popular cigarette brand in the world. The senior smokers will suggest the smoking beginners to smoke Marlboro. Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing weapon. I suggest Marlboro can focus on their quality control rather than doing ads to the audience. I think it is more ETHICAL since they will not “educate” the teenagers to smoke.

    Lastly, I have a suggestion. Although it is a blog, we can express our feeling freely and can using short-form. I think it is better for us to write a full word before writing a short-form. WW2 is an example in your blog. As I have studied history, I understand what WW2 mean. WW2 mean Second World War(I think). If WW2 means world war two, it is better to write WW II rather than WW2. It is a common short-form of the Second World War.

    Thanking for reading my comments.

  12. Thanks for your sharing in this blog.
    I still remember I can notice this brand name no matter where I was going to travel. I do agree that Marlboro is running by comprehensive marketing strategy around the world. Thus, when talking about globalization, I think it would be better if we can focus on the whole globalization process. For example: the distribution and diversification of products.

    In addition, I really like the part which is talking about the local culture and personal identity. It inspires me of how to manage image rotation and image development. However, smoking is still a controversial topic in current contemporary situation. More and more citizens are likely to get rid of smoking environment. So I think that Marlboro should have another way to maintain their profit and image. And it would be better if this can be part of suggestion. For example: promotion on more cross-related products or services.

    Thank you.

  13. Your group has picked up the most controversial brand to illustrate the globalization issue. However, your group still handled the whole thing so well and really got to the point. Although Marlboro is such a big brand in the world, what we know about the Marlboro is very limited. And I think it can be attributed the problem to the moral issue. Generally speaking, for the public, tobacco is such a taboo subject. Even if we talk about it, we just emphasize the dark side on it and then end the topic. How many people really try to have a deep understanding on such ‘evil’ stuff?

    Your group mentioned that one of the slogan ‘This is the world of man, this is the world of Marlboro’. I think such statement is no longer valid as the Marlboro is actually planning to target young and trendy females. What’s more, it tried to change their original package to cater and appeal the female customers. Also, there is a totally different pricing strategy on the female market which its price is relatively low when it compares with the common one.
    We can see that the Marlboro is trying to use multi-segments strategy rather than just target on the niche group.

    Your group also mentioned that young adults are easily affected by the advertisement and therefore they tried to have cigarette. I just partly agree with what you have said. Young adults are easily to be affected, but not mainly by advertisement. From my point of view, the people who surround them are, indeed, the killers. Actually, I have asked people who are addicted to smoking why they tried to take it. They answered friends instead of advertisement. It is not a surprising answer as peer pressure is very common in this era. I don’t intend to defend for the Marlboro, but manage to reveal the truth in this issue. In fact, there are always many factors that affect the whole thing, but not only one.

  14. Thanks for your sharing first. For me, Marlboro is a difficult brand to investigate. It is because it is a brand that far away from us. But you guys have done a very good job. Colorful picture, video, even the HK slogan are very attractive to me, especially the HK slogan, it is very “local”.

    Also, I appreciate you define Globalization in the beginning of the blog. It is the key point factor that we are focusing. Define the word of Globalization can let us have a clearer flow in the following reading.

    However, there are some things that I want to share here.

    1. “The step to global” let us have a brief understanding of how Marlboro to be globalized, to be famous in the world. But can you tell me more? For example, you said Marlboro produced tobacco to army in WW2. Did it produce to the army of different country or only US? Is it produced to only US, why it became famous in the other countries? Also, any strategy or marketing promotion that made it becomes a global company? Maybe you can provide a chart or timeline to show its different strategy in different period that made it globalized.

    2. In the part of intercultural communication, I agree that Operation in the local factories, Standardized production method, and Extensive research in the taste of customers are three things that can help intercultural communication, but how? You didn’t talk much about in your blog. These three things are production and costing strategy, but what is the relationship among them and culture?
    Actually, Frank’s reading has mentioned that setting up a local factory can improve intercultural communication. It is because this can increase the communication chance of both parties. Also, the investing company needs to teach the production method to the local people, so there is an exchange of skills and idea, sometimes also the special habit which is part of culture.

    3. Finally, what is the stand point of your group? Globalization is good or not? It is so nice that you have analyzed the advantages and disadvantages of Marlboro to us, but any benefit or drawback of globalization, which is a key part of this blog. There are some links that help you to have a brief idea of both advantages and disadvantages of globalization.

    Hope they are helpful~~^^

  15. Hi Laughing, thanks for sharing on Marlboro Company. Actually, I really think smoking is not a good habit and bad for human’s health. I wonder why Marlboro can still survive in the world when most of the governments are discouraging smoking in their countries. By this blog, I found some of the answers.

    Sometimes, cigarettes are categorized as a kind of drug which is addictive and bad for health. That’s why the government imposed a high percentage of tax on it. However, the smokers keep on smoking. Marlboro succeeds as they created a image of “smokers are successful men” and “Smoking is cool.” This image is built in the heart of the target market deeply.

    It’s totally true that they standardized their production. You can find the Marlboro cigarettes with package of Red (Original), Green (Method) and Gold (Light) all over the world. In addition, you mentioned Marlboro have extensive research in the taste of customers. I would like to supplement some information to this point. Marlboro did have customization to their specific markets. I take Hong Kong as an example. They realized that Hong Kong people like the cigarette with menthol. Then, they invented 2 new favours for their cigarette which are Black Menthol, Silver Green and Silver Blue (Freshmint) for the Hong Kong market. Also, as Hong Kong government increased the tax on tobacco, many Hong Kong people would like to quit smoking and more emphasis on health. By this reason, they produced a white package cigarette which is having low tar and nicotine to help them quit smoking. The cigarettes with low tar and nicotine will have a light harm on health. Hence, by this customization, they enlarged their market share in this market.

  16. Dear laughing group
    Marlboro, what an interesting company!
    I learnt a lot from your article and it is good written.
    It would be better for you to discuss the following points.

    First of all, you guys forgot to write the philosophy of Marlboro. Whether it is pre-modern, modern or post-modern? Elaboration of the point can enrich your article.

    Secondly, it would be interesting if your blog post more information about the effect of smoking. Although there are lots of articles emphasizing to smoke is unhealthy, it would be more convincible to post a scientific report and show reader some photos and videos on this issue.

    Moreover, I don’t agree with SMALL potatoes that Marlboro is an evil company. Although doing charity may be a kind of marketing strategy of Marlboro, it is a fact that it made charitable contributions approximately $20 million in 2008 and it is one of the biggest donator in the world. And do not forget, Marlbolo is a global brand, which creates millions of working opportunities in the world, can you omit the benefits it brings to the world, both in economic and society?


  17. Thank you for sharing. Your group provides lots of colorful pictures. It can really attract people to go to your blog. Good start! Also, your group provides a clear definition about what is globalization in the first paragraph. So, the viewers can know what your blog focus on easily!

    Marlboro is very popular all over the world. I think it is not because of the advertisement. Since there are many ads suggest people not to smoke. People smoke because of their addiction.

    Smoking hurts people’s health. It is difficult for Marlboro to create a new product. Since Marlboro is difficult to attract new target customers. So, can you suggest some ideas for Marlboro to handle this problem?

  18. Are you paying over $5 per pack of cigs? I'm buying my cigs over at Duty Free Depot and I save over 70% from cigs.