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The real Marlboro man died in Wyoming last month. Darrell Winfield, who modeled for the brand from towas the ideal poster child for the rugged, independent self-image Philip Morris wanted to sell its customers. Born in eastern Oklahoma shortly before the Great Crash ofWinfield soon migrated West with his family in the devastation of the Dust Bowl.
Come to Marlboro Country. Though there were dozens of Marlboro men over the years, the campaign recruits preceding Winfield were typically screen actors and professional models. Winfield was the real deal. He had no home, though he was once in a ramshackle shed, holding his tin cup out roughly for coffee… He epitomised resilience, self-sufficiency, independence and free enterprise.
While nary a tobacco TV ad has aired sincesome might remember the moving image of a man on horseback, cloaked in a duster, charging across the snow-dusted prairie to that woodstove-heated shed, scenes that ended with the optimistic uptick of a violin. The print featured groups of chisel-faced wranglers sitting around a campfire, or a solo cowboy astride a horse, cupping his smoke against the bitter Mature in Marlboro somewhere in the red rock deserts and high plains of an ambiguous American West.
The Marlboro Man is the most powerful mascot in American tobacco marketing in history. SinceMarlboro has been the most purchased cigarette brand in the U. But modern cowboys, it turned out, are by and large fictive. In places like Wyoming, Winfield's resting place, the image of the white, adventuresome cowboy in chaps and kerchief, duking it out with Indians alone on the frontier, was cultivated by 19th Century Wild West Shows and used, in part, to entice eastern settlers—and since the early 20th century, ranching has fallen far behind the state's actual economic boon: energy extraction.
Until the late s, all filtered cigarettes—Marlboro included—were considered feminine. Within a year of Marlboro Man's debut, the company went from holding only a one percent market share to being the fourth bestselling brand in America.
Fourteen years after masculinizing Marlboro, Philip Morris introduced the first brand that used the same kind of aspirational advertising specifically to women: Virginia Slims. That was one group. These are women who are not into the feminine image. They are not interested in Virginia Slims or Capri or Misty. It would seem that the Marlboro Man struck a chord across even gender lines. Or maybe it had the ring of an earlier gendered message, one that was targeted to women.
While some of those restrictions were only tacitly held beliefs, it was only in that a woman was arrested in New York City for smoking in public. The marketing team at Philip Morris USA declined to comment for this article due to company policy that prohibits their Mature in Marlboro of marketing materials, campaigns, and demographic data—which have all been by and large declassified since the Master Settlement, and organized in public archives like the Legacy Tobacco Archive at UCSF.
It would seem that Big Tobacco isn't ready to reflect on the past, even as smoking dips to historic lows. On the eve of the Master Settlement—after the dust had settled around the Joe Camel scandals and the leaked insider documents that proved big tobacco was intentionally marketing to kids—Charles Leroux wrote in the Chicago Tribune about the imminent evisceration of the Marlboro Man from U. The brand is full of paradox. And the rodeo, that perceived re-enactment of white masculinity and the spiritual home of the Marlboro Man, finds its early antecedent in Indian equestrian activities.
And more women smoke Marlboro than any other brand. When Darrell Winfield died last month, he was still living on his ranch in Riverton—a municipality which actually sits within the Wind River Reservation on land that was ceded from Northern Arapahoe and Eastern Shoshone people in And he continued smoking Marlboro to his dying day, on a sovereign piece of land belonging to peoples whose ancestors cultivated tobacco in the first place.
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