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What is the secret behind the Marlboro country advertising campaign which changed the face of this brand from a product designed for women to a cigarette especially created for men ? What is so special in the set of classic advertisements with a cowboy riding his horse in a beautiful setting ? And, even more important, why is this image so important that it has become emblematic for an entire generation of smokers ?
To answer these questions, we had to analyze the image closely. And here's what we found:
- In these TV spots, the cowboy always rides a horse, which is a symbol of elegance, grace, and good tastes.
- The cowboy is generic; as such, he represents the American man, free, confident, and reliable.
- During his ride, he usually reaches a lake or a river and sets a fire in the evening time. This renders the elemental forces behind the scene: the water, the earth, the fire, and the air. In this context, smoke seems the logical fifth element in the series.
- Smoking is associated with enjoying nature and loneliness in wilderness. So it must be a relaxing act for each and every man out there, irrespective of other details, such as cultural background, social status, etc.
- Horses are a sign of power and freedom and... so is smoking.
Even if this image is very close to clich?, if not a clich? in itself, it became one of the most influential images in the tobacco industry of the 20th century and few other brands (like Kent, Camel, and Lucky Strike) can fight against it effectively. It's so effective that it is perceived as a cultural and social reference in many movies and books dealing with cowboys and with the traditional American way of life.
Marlboro country is a place where men can be free (of daily problems), where they can simply enjoy the benefits of nature and smoking altogether. It is, ultimately, the perfect place to put all your worries aside and start smoking.