The "Marlboro Man" and "Marlboro Country" are today widely recognized symbols of American culture and commerce, both in the United States and around the world. They have been part of one of the longest running advertising campaigns of all time for more than 35 years, and they have come to occupy a prominent place in the global landscape of consumer products and fantasies.
The various contributions to this web site are part of an anthropological inquiry into the forms and meanings of consumption and consumerism in everyday life. University of Rochester students enrolled for the 2001 spring semester in Anthropology 226, "Culture, Consumption and Consumerism," with Professor Robert Foster, were asked to develop research projects connected in some way with the marketing and consumption of cigarettes. Students were encouraged to take advantage of a rare opportunity to make use of original materials on loan from the Marlboro Advertising History Collection of the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. Professor Foster and his students would like to thank Mimi Minnick, John Fleckner, and Wendy Shay of the Archives Center at the National Museum of American History for arranging the loan of materials from the Marlboro collection.
The projects for the course engaged a range of issues and looked at cigarette marketing and consumption from both historical and cultural perspectives. The full text of one paper, "The Implications of Smoking Hazards for Cigarette Advertising" by Jessica Savage, is included as an example of how students made use of the Marlboro Advertising History Collection. Brief abstracts of all the projects and relevant images are organized under the following five topical headings: Cross Cultural Comparisons: How Global Ads are Localized; Cigarette Smoking and Women: Marlboro Gender Symbolism; Government Restrictions, Health Issues and Anti-Smoking Campaigns; Advertising Imagery and Consumer Perception; and How Advertisers Target Certain Audiences and Markets.
was designed and constructed by Shumon Sharif, a student in the course,
who also wrote the "Brief History" section and compiled the
links to related web sites. Professor Foster would like to thank Shumon
Sharif for his effort and creativity.
The Marlboro Advertising History Project was conducted between 1985 and 1987. The core of the collection is a series of 60 oral history interviews with Philip Morris and Leo Burnett (advertising agency) personnel, as well as photographers, production staff, and Marlboro cowboys. Twenty-seven of the interviews were conducted overseas, in Argentina, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and West Germany. The interviews cover events from the 1930s through the 1980s, and focus on the theory and development of Marlboro advertising, its content and creation, and modifications over the years. The foreign interviews also discuss the structure of the local cigarette market, and culturally specific advertising and marketing techniques.
The collection also includes Marlboro television commercials which aired in the US between 1955 and 1971; Marlboro television commercials for foreign markets from the 1970s and 1980s; over 1500 slides and 400 proof sheets of Marlboro advertising from the 1920s through the 1980s; and a small body of printed materials, including copies of Philip Morris annual reports for the 1980s, and secondary source materials about Philip Morris, Marlboro, Leo Burnett, the tobacco industry and cigarette advertising and marketing.
The collection is available by appointment; call (202) 357-3270 or email email@example.com for more information.
Center's web site is www.americanhistory.si.edu/archives