One of the products that reach people from all ages (at least all that are of age) without a lot of advertising is the cigarettes. At least nowadays they don’t need ads. People just smoke them – not for the ad, but for the quality they offer. All this is combines somewhat with the price of the pack of cigarettes or the bag of tobacco. And ads can’t really make you switch from one brand to another, unless you’re looking for a new one. However, names are the identity of the cigarette brands, and regular customers are the best ad possible. This naming article is about Marlboro– the largest selling brand of cigarettes in the world. Indeed they are widely popular based on their old ad with the cowboy. The ad was created in the 1950’s to convert male smokers to buy Marlboro cigarettes, which were being sold as feminine until then. And the manly cowboy did the trick.
But we’re talking about naming here. One may assume the name originated from the town the founder was born in – and that wouldn’t be unexpected. Many companies are named based on similar ideas (see IKEA post). Furthermore, there are many places called Marlborough all over the world – England, Australia, Canada, USA, New Zealand etc. How original must it have been to simply change Marlborough spelling to Marlboro? Well, the real story is not too far from the suggestion. Phillip Morris, the founder of the company, opened a shop in which he was selling tobacco and rolled cigarettes. This was in 1847 and the location was Bond Street, London, UK. However, after his death, relatives took care of the business, and eventually it grew enough for a first factory to be opened. The factory was located on Great Marlborough Street, London (you can see what the street looked like around that time here). The owners, a company called Phillip Morris Companies Inc. at the time (the name is Altria Group nowadays), decided to go for a simple name – Marlboro. A name that has proven though the years and is the most popular cigarette brand.
If you’re interested in reading more stories on company and brand naming you can check the related naming article on the popular Zippo lighters or something not so related like the naming of the Visa bank cards.