Marlboro Prototype Cigarette Box


In 1939, Walter Landor arrived in the United States to help install the British training pavilion at the New York World’s Fair. At twenty-six years old, Landor had left his home in Germany to study art and design in Britain, where he became the youngest Fellow of the Royal Society of Industrial Artists. With whispers of war circulating around Europe, Landor decided to stay in the United States and travelled to the West Coast in search of design work. In 1941, Landor and his new wife Josephine Martinelli founded Walter Landor and Associates (today Landor) in their San Francisco apartment. The company specialized in packaging and label design for a number of iconic brands ranging from Marlboro cigarettes to Aunt Jemima to Sara Lee. As the company expanded, Landor’s base of operations moved from his home through several locations until it settled in 1962 on the Klamath, a docked ferryboat in the San Francisco Bay that would become an iconic part of Landor’s own brand.

Philip Morris Company, now Altria Inc., launched the Marlboro brand in 1924. At the brand’s conception, the company marketed its cigarette as a woman’s cigarette because American consumers perceived filtered cigarettes as more feminine. To keep the female market, Philip Morris added a red band around the filter to hide lipstick stains. Marlboro continued to be marketed as woman’s cigarette until the 1950s. A study published in the 1950s linked cigarettes to lung cancer. However, a belief remained that filtered cigarettes posed less of a danger than unfiltered cigarettes. Marlboro thus changed its marketing strategy to attract men who wanted the safety of filters, but did not want to smoke a feminine cigarette.

In order to change the public’s perception of the Marlboro brand, Philip Morris decided to launch an ad campaign focused around masculine figures such as sports players, weightlifters, sea captains, and cowboys. The cowboy proved immensely popular and became the most famous figure in Marlboro advertising. Marlboro remained a masculine brand from that point forward.

Location: Currently not on view

Credit Line: Bequest of Walter and Josephine Landor

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1993.0393.110Accession Number: 1993.0393Catalog Number: 1993.0393.110

Object Name: Boxprototype cigarette box

Measurements: overall: 8.5 cm x 6 cm x 2.2 cm; 3 3/8 in x 2 3/8 in x 7/8 in


Record Id: nmah_1297887

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