Wayne McLaren, David McLean and Dick Hammer all died from lung cancer and ironically these men also appeared in Marlboro Man advertisements, thus earning Marlboro cigarettes, specifically Marlboro Reds, the nickname “Cowboy killers”.
The Marlboro Man is a figure used in tobacco advertising campaign for Marlboro cigarettes. In the United States, where the campaign originated, it was used from 1954 to 1999. The image involves a rugged cowboy or cowboys, in nature with only a cigarette. The advertisements were originally conceived as a way to popularize filtered cigarettes, which at the time were considered feminine.
McLaren testified in favor of anti-smoking legislation at the age of 51. During the time of McLaren’s anti-smoking activism, Philip Morris denied that McLaren ever appeared in a Marlboro ad, a position it later amended to maintaining that while he did appear in ads, he was not the Marlboro Man, considering Winfield as the holder of that title. McLaren died before his 52nd birthday in 1992.
The use of the Marlboro Man campaign had very significant and immediate effects on sales. In 1955 when the Marlboro Man campaign was started, sales were at $5 billion. By 1957, sales were at $20 billion, representing a 300% increase within two years. Philip Morris easily overcame growing health concerns through the Marlboro Man campaign, highlighting the success as well as the tobacco industry’s strong ability to use mass marketing to influence consumers. The immediate success of the Marlboro Man campaign led to heavy imitation. Old Golds adopted the tagline as being a cigarette for “independent thinkers.” Chesterfield depicted cowboy and other masculine occupations to match their tagline of “Men of America” smoke Chesterfields.