Few people know that Marlboro cigarettes, first released in 1924 by the American company Philip Morris, are not actually named after the old British noble family of Marlboro. How did it happen? Read below!
I In general, it is not clear why some experts are leaning towards the “British” version. By 1924, only American managers were in charge of Philip Morris. There was real interest for everything British in the U.S. at that time. So, what does this have to do with Britishness?
A more realistic version suggests that the name of the famous cigarette was given after the American town of Marlborough located in Massachusetts. The name of the town is spelled Marlborough in English, but Philip Morris decided it was too long. Besides, everyone knows about a longstanding habit of Americans to abuse English words by abbreviating them and “trimming” the endings. Additionally, this version is supported by unconfirmed information that someone from the Board of Directors of Philip Morris used to study (was born, married etc.) in this very town.
But unlike Marlboro, the Parliament brand was far from always being American, and was not always owned by Philip Morris. And the initial design of the pack was nothing like the modern one. Initially, the brand belonged to the English company Benson & Hedges, and first went on sale in 1938. Already at the time of the release, the cigarettes were equipped with an exclusive mouthpiece and were sold exclusively in the “premium” segment. The style of the brand name spelling, as well as the arrangement of the design elements of the pack, was very similar to the style of Chesterfield cigarettes.
The now famous Parliament logo — the crowned check mark — appeared only in the 1960s and, by the way, the “jackdaw” is a stylized letter “V” denoting the English word “Victory”.
In the 1940–1950s, Parliament cigarettes were the most expensive in the world. Even though annual sales did not exceed 1 billion units, Marlboro’s sales were in the tens of billions. But unlike the American classic, Parliament had a better sales growth rate.
In 1953, the board of directors of Philip Morris Inc.,while discussing at a regular meeting that it is less costly for the company — to launch its own two or three filter brands of the “expensive” segment on the market or to buy out existing ones from other manufacturers, decides to purchase the excellent ones from Benson & Hedges “ Parliament “. The new brand was immediately promoted in the domestic market, not without success, I must say. In just a year, Parliament moved into second place in the US domestic market, immediately behind Marlboro.
The now generally accepted king size cigarette format began to appear only in the mid-1940s. Before the arrival of KS with a length of 80–85 mm, there was only one general format on the cigarette market — “regular”, with a length of 70 mm. However, by 1946, both the KS and the newfangled “filter tips” were catching up with the original format — this was the name of the filter cigarettes that had just appeared.
To more accurately determine the choice of formats, American tobacco manufacturers conducted a series of social media surveys, brand awareness surveys among smokers. According to the polls, there was no limit to amazement)) So, it turned out that only 30% of the respondents knew about the varieties of the brand №1, Marlboro, 38% knew about Parliament, and Pall Mall cigarettes were the undisputed leader — 72%. And this despite the fact that Pall Mall became a leader during the years of these social surveys))
The famous and now widely known Parliament carbon filter appeared only in 1967. It took Philip Morris technologists two whole years to research, and only later were coal cigarettes released on the market. A year or two later, Parliament was released in formats of 100 and 120 mm, and a little later, lightweight versions of the classics.