How Philip Morris & Co. Created One of the Greatest Marketing Campaigns in History Using Aristotle’s Logic


“Philip Morris & Co. (now Altria) had originally introduced the Marlboro brand as a woman’s cigarette in 1924,” according to Wikipedia.

In 1954, however, that all changed. Launching what’s known as one of the most universally successful advertising campaigns in history, Leo Burnett created The Marlboro Man.

Whatever you think about smoking, put it aside for a second. Right or wrong, The Marlboro Man produced serious results for Phillip Morris.

The thing that’s interesting for readers of this blog is that Phillip Morris’ team did it by employing a repeatable strategy.

It’s not a strategy that makes it all right to outright lie to your customers, but it is a strategy that you can employ for both great products and bad products.

And it was invented 2,300 years ago by a man named Aristotle.

Aristotle created the notion of the “syllogism,” or “deduction” as it is often translated from Aristotle’s Greek.

Here’s an excerpt from Aristotle’s Prior Analytics that defines “deduction.”

A deduction is speech (logos) in which, certain things having been supposed, something different from those supposed results of necessity because of their being so. (Prior Analytics I.2, 24b18–20)

– Quoted from The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

In last week’s web clinic, “Repeatable Brand Strategy,” Flint McGlaughlin explained it like this:


Aristotle’s syllogisms are at the heart of every successful brand strategy whether the creators are aware or not. Brands can leverage Aristotle’s idea of the syllogism to create a repeatable and successful brand strategy by creating what Flint calls a “virtual syllogism.”

By creating The Marlboro Man, Phillip Morris and Leo Burnett incidentally created the following virtual syllogism:


It seems simple, but it set Marlboro apart from their competitors who were still trying to highlight things like the “health benefits” of filters or flavors.


You might also like:

Repeatable Brand Strategy  [MarketingExperiments web clinic replay]

Inbound Marketing: HP turns interns into brand ambassadors with Twitter contest [From MarketingSherpa]

Brand Affinity: Mellow Mushroom builds engagement via original content, e-club program [From MarketingSherpa]

Hacking Patagonia’s PR Strategy: How to improve your brand’s voice and influence [From MarketingSherpa]

7 Surprisingly Successful Brands on Instagram [From MarketingSherpa]

Does Brand Really Matter? [MarketingExperiments web clinic replay]

An Executive Look at Newspaper Industry Transformation [From MECLABS Institute]

You might also like

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.