"Decide Now, Buy Marlboro": Examining the influence and appeal of Marlboro's new brand architecture among Filipino adolescents

Lisa P. Lagasse, Marela Kay R. Minosa, Meghan B. Moran, Joanna E. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In recent years, Philip Morris International (PMI) launched a global rebranding strategy to expand the reach of Marlboro. Using a mixed-methods design, this study evaluated the appeal and influence of Marlboro advertising among Filipino youth. Six hundred and twenty-three adolescents aged 13-17 years old in Metro Manila participated in a survey, including three advertising conditions: two for Marlboro and one for Mighty, a local cigarette brand. One-way repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) and paired t-tests evaluated differences between the three conditions on participants' attitudes toward advertisements [measured as identification, likeability, and perceived effectiveness (PE)]. Compared to Mighty, never-smokers rated Marlboro advertisements as more identifiable and likeable. Comparing by smoking status (never vs. ever), multivariable logistic regression assessed the influence of these attitudes on intention to smoke. Increased likeability was associated with greater intention to smoke among never-smokers, and greater PE increased odds of intention to smoke for both never- and ever-smokers. Additionally, six focus group discussions (FGD) explored responses to campaign messaging. Themes were compared within and across groups. Marlboro was also appealing to FGD participants, who described the ads as attractive to youth and promoting "adventure"and "freedom", whereas the Mighty brand was seen as being for adults and current smokers. Our findings illustrate that Marlboro advertisements are distinctly appealing to youth. Marlboro rhetoric - where consumers are urged to "decide"to "Be Marlboro"- was particularly powerful. These findings support the need for addressing gaps in policies regulating the marketing and promotion of tobacco in the Philippines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20180117
JournalInternational Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021


  • Philippines
  • adolescents
  • advertising
  • mixed methods
  • tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of '"Decide Now, Buy Marlboro": Examining the influence and appeal of Marlboro's new brand architecture among Filipino adolescents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this