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  • Pavala Malar Nadan A/L Mariappan .

    December 17, 2021 at 5:02 pm

    I would say during the 90s, tobacco company’s TV ads would be some of my favorites because it is mysterious and provokes curiosities. The ads music selection, actor/actress and the props are of high-quality standards.

    To think about it, cigarette companies’ marketing team invested large amount of time and effort in promoting their tobacco brands. They came up with many creative ideas on building their brand equity without showing the actual product (cigarette) in their TV ads. These tobacco brands managed to build strong bond of loyalty with consumers by disassociating themselves from health hazard. On the contrary, these tobacco brands associated themselves with sports, fashion, and stylish lifestyle especially in the 90s.

    For instance, the below are some of the tobacco TV ads and their creative strategies to promote their brand.

    Marlboro TV ads shows an adventurous lifestyle of a rugged Cowboy taming wild horses and riding on it. “Marlboro man” promotes independent lifestyle and confidence. Marlboro is also one of the main sponsors for F1 Ferrari team and the red and white logo on race car is a powerful TV ad to promote their brand. Even after F1 governing body banned displaying tobacco branding on F1 race cars back in 2006, Marlboro plastered Mission Minnow logo (a green arrow pointing forward logo) on Ferrari race car. (Mission Minnow is a shell company owned by PMI (Marlboro’s parent company)). (Fogarty, 2021)

    Dunhill: Who would have forgotten the motto “Gaya, mutu, keunggulan?” When we were very young, most of us naively would have thought it was some clothing/accessories brand. Their TV ads during festive seasons also undeniably one of the best in its era. They also sponsored Blockbuster movies during prime time and major football matches back in the 90s. By doing so, Dunhill effectively marketed their brand and gain loyalty among Malaysian.

    Salem: TV ads portraying people in white clothes travels in a green and cold places such as Mount Cook, Calgary and Cameron Highlands. They made the ad as if it was a travelling agency. Now if we analyze it, the TV ad is a subliminal advertising referring to Salem’s cooling menthol sensation in mouth and throat when people inhale the smoke, and the greenery represent the color of the Salem cigarette box, while the people in white clothes represents the cigarette sticks.

    In my opinion, these tobacco companies were primarily targeting non-smoking teenagers/youngsters (potential future smokers) by systematically “brainwashing” them over the years. These TV ads creates an illusion that these brands are adopted by successful, active and independent people. It is one of the marketing strategies for tobacco companies to ensure business continuity.

    Another TV ad that still lingers in my mind would be Axion dishwashing paste.

    Who could have forgotten the catchy tune from the 90s TV ad, “Axion ke Aziah?”

    The product is still widely being used as household dishwashing product to remove grease and as antibacterial dishwashing.

    The warmth feeling of the village style setting for the ad still relevant to Malaysian till to date. The ad demonstrated that dishwashing can be done quickly (the husband back home early from work) and save cost because just a little bit swipe of the paste can clean whole bunch of grease. Moreover, the ad suggests the dishwashing chores became easier.

    The ad is way ahead of its time whereby it promotes gender equality as it suggests the dishwashing can be done by male and not exclusively for female.

    All the above information presented creatively in a catchy tune.


    Fogarty, P. (2021, March 11). What is Mission Winnow? Ferrari’s green sponsor logo explained. HITC. https://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2021/03/11/ferrari-mission-winnow-green-sponsor-logo-explained-formula-1/