Whether you’re a smoker or just curious about the makers of America’s favorite brand of tobacco, Philip Morris and it’s parent company have had some kind of impact on your life, but aside from Marlboro cigarettes, how much does the average American know about one of the oldest and the most dominant companies in the tobacco industry?
1. Philip Morris Co. is no more, but is now known as Altria and is the owner of Philip Morris USA, Kraft Foods and the Miller Brewing Company.
2. Marlboro, the most smoked type of cigarette in the United States was originally marketed to women until the creation of the Marlboro Man. The intent was to create a tougher image for filtered cigarettes, which became one of the most successful marketing campaigns of all time in the United States. Ending in 1999, the Marlboro Man could regularly be seen on horse back or in the performance or post completion of harsh physical labor and almost always accompanied by a thousand mile stare. Today the Marlboro Man still rides in Japan and until recently in several European Countries.
3. Marlboro Reds, commonly known as ‘Cowboy Killers’ are the most smoked type of cigarette in the Marlboro line, and in the United States. The term ‘Cowboy Killers’ comes from the fact that 2 of the 3 actors who portrayed the Marlboro Man on television and in ads, David McLean and Dick Hammer, died from lung cancer. While there were several other actors in both ads and commercials, Philip Morris has held firm to its insistence that many of the others were merely in ads, not official Marlboro men.
4. Philip Morris accounts for almost half, 49%, of the current cigarette market in the United States and is the largest manufacturer and producer of cigarettes in the world. Recently, Philip Morris has jumped on the Snus wagon is currently producing their own form of flavored smokeless pouch tobacco.
5. Philip Morris was not an American; instead, he as a British manufacturer of hand made tobacco products who provided hand rolled cigarettes to soldiers returning to England who desired rolled tobacco in smaller forms similar to what they had created while on tours.
Still one of the most controversial companies operating in the Unites States, many think that the days of such corporations are numbered. New smoking laws are appearing on every state legislature list and the rules and regulations for limiting the advertising of smoked tobacco has increased exponentially. But, like competitor RJR, the makers of Camel Cigarettes, Phillip Morris has taken great strides to separate themselves from both the negative public opinion of their product as well as once successful and now despised advertising campaigns. But given the successful acquisition of smaller companies and a continued diversification, Philip Morris USA and it’s parent Altria will, like it or not, be around for years to come.