Leo Burnett is testing work in two cities for Marlboro Milds, a new product from Philip Morris Cos. Separately, the agency last week broke a $100 million image campaign for PM featuring uplifting stories of the client's actions to help solve problems like hunger, disaster relief, domestic violence and youth access to tobacco.
The blue-packaged Milds are Marlboro's first extension since Philip Morris launched Ultra Lights nationally in 1998. The new cigarette is positioned between Marlboro Lights and Marlboro Ultra Lights for smokers looking for the relaxed, mild side of menthol.
Print ads for Marlboro Milds now running in Atlanta and Pittsburgh have a laid-back attitude. One ad shows a pair of cowboy boot-clad feet propped up on a desk with the headline, "Serene moments in Marlboro country." The tagline is simply, "New Marlboro Milds."
The ads will run in newspapers, magazines and alternative publications in those markets. The budget for the test was not disclosed, but sources estimated spending at $1 million.
Philip Morris spent $134 million on Marlboro ads last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
Burnett officials declined to comment on the campaign and referred all calls to PM, which confirmed the test and the ad approach.
The corporate image campaign is part of the New York tobacco giant's efforts to communicate more openly and for the first time acknowledges the link between smoking and cancer. The work, which includes television spots and a redesigned Web site, is built around the theme, "Working to make a difference. The people of Philip Morris."
One execution shows how Philip Morris helped a rain-ravaged town by bottling and shipping potable water from a nearby Miller brewery.
Critics blasted the effort last week as "too little too late."