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Marlboro Maybe Archetype Ad Campaign

Are Marlboro "Maybe" advertisements such as the 50 pictured below assaulting youth where you live? Governments are already beginning to ban the Marlboro "Maybe" advertising campaign, declaring that it targets youth.

A once secret study by Philip Morris (PM) provides clear and convincing evidence that Philip Morris International (PMI) is intentionally targeting children and teens for addiction to smoked nicotine.

PM's 1991 "Archetype Project" study taught PMI that its "Maybe" ads would imprint and help form a child or teens initial definitions of success and accomplishment, so as to tie Marlboro use to the child's original definition. Even more troubling, what if "Maybe" ads tie Marlboro use to the adolescent's core decision making process?

On June 21, 2012, PMI's Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Frederic de Wilde, openly admitted at PMI's investor day that:
"Once the campaign concept was established, we started introducing image visuals to add emotional elements and anchor 'Be Marlboro' in real situations." "Young adults feel overwhelmed by the flood of information and options that new technologies offer. In this time of uncertainty, they have very few life compasses that can provide them with guidance. With the new campaign, Marlboro encourages them to be decisive, trust themselves and follow their inspiration. The concept is very simple: there are three ways to react when faced with a decision: Yes, No, or Maybe. Marlboro does not believe in Maybes."
While PMI openly admits targeting the young adult's life compass, PM's Archetype Project study discovered that a person's smoking compass involves personal, social and ordering functions which are almost all formed prior to adulthood.

Quoting from PDF Page 7, "An archetype is a mental highway (neuronal pathway) which has been imprinted at an early age and is used each time we perform an action. The first imprinting of smoking is that adults do it, and I'm excluded. In particular, adults do it when they're socializing, having fun, or relaxing," that smoking is to be "part of the group/to belong to the group."

As reviewed on study Page 7, "Law and the mores deny high school students the right to enjoy the pleasures derived from tobacco, gambling and alcohol. However, the mystery with which adults surround these areas of behavior lends them a special value which seems to act as a stimulus to many young people who desire to experience the supposed thrill of pleasures their elders deny them. Transgressing the restrictions imposed by law and taboo is a source of excitement, both individually and within the clique of the initiated."

The "Maybe" campaign ties the adolescent's developing self image to Marlboro, provides them a path of initiation into adulthood (smoking), plays upon their individuality in seeking to create conformity, and markets to the world what Page 11 of the study calls an "American identity":
"A young culture which emphasizes improvement, achievement, freedom, self-actualization, second chances, impossible dreams, etc. Inextricably bound to these ideas is the notion of constant growth, never being satisfied. In a sense, Americans are striving to succeed, regardless of how much success they have already achieved."
In that its own youth neuronal pathway imprinting study has been followed to the letter, any claim by PMI that the below "Maybe" ads do not target children and teenagers is clearly not credible.

The e-cigarette's arrival has created thousands of new business locations which would gladly deny underage children and teens access and entry, while allowing tobacco companies unrestricted commercial square footage for marketing cigarettes to adults (see proposed sales ordinance). Yes, it's a golden opportunity to move nicotine products out of neighborhood convenience stores (nicotine addiction central), grocery stores and pharmacies, to prove to the world that the nicotine addiction industry is serious about protecting the adolescent mind from nicotine use imprinting.

PMI, like all large corporations, is about shareholders, earnings and income. It has no conscience. While the world's leading cigarette seller, its corporate leadership lacks the courage to lead. Instead of supporting local efforts to exclude under-age minds from nicotine sales locations, like harvesting baby seals, PMI will continue to intentionally assault, imprint, brainwash, program and enslave them, so long as health officials allow.

Please help us document PMI's current youth brain neuron imprinting campaign within your neighborhood by being brave and taking photos inside Marlboro sales locations, and on the street, and emailing your images to maybe@whyquit.com. Please send high resolution photos if possible and be sure and tell us the location where the advertisement appears (city and country), whether the ad is still being displayed, and the date the photo was taken.

Known PMI Marlboro Maybe Ads

Click Image to Enlarge

Marlboro Maybe ad Message: MAYBE
Location: Germany June 2012
Comments: German government banned PMI's ad campaign on October 9, 2013 for targeting youth.


maybe be marlboro Message: MAYBE - BE > Marlboro
Location: Germany October 2012
Comments: Per the study, "Many authors have acknowledged the ritualistic aspects of smoking:" "rites always designate specific behaviors related to precise situations and rules, marked by repetition, whose role is not obvious"


Maybe Message: Maybe
Location: Israel - March 2013
Comments: According to PMI's Senior VP of Marketing and Sales, in December 2011, campaign billboards appeared with a large black lettered 'MAYBE' written on a white background with the MAY crossed out with a red cross. The billboards were not attributable to anyone as this was a "teaser campaign" to arouse interest.


Maybe - Be Marlboro Message: Maybe - Be Marlboro
Location: Israel - March 2013
Comments: PMI Maybe advertising assaults are believed to have ended in Israel in May/June 2013


Be Marlboro Message: Be Marlboro
Location: Israel - March 2013
Comments: Ad says, "It's time to make decisions and move forward! Yes or No, are decisions that take you forward. MAYBE won't take you anywhere."


No more maybeMessage: No more maybe - Be Marlboro
Location: April 2012 Per PM's Archetype study: "Through observational studies of smoking we have been able to categorize smoking behavior as having ... personal functions." "Personal functions include the management ... of negative and positive affect, the presentation of self and the preparation of self for possibly stressful situations."


no more maybe crowd surfing Message: No more maybe - Be Marlboro
Location: Germany - June 2012
Comments: Per the study, "Recommendations Based on the Archetype:" "Insist that ... smoking is for people who like to take risks."


no more maybeMessage: No more maybe - Marlboro
Location: January 2013
Comments: Per the study, "The American culture is a young culture which emphasizes improvement, achievement ... impossible dreams" "The American identity should be the core"


Never say maybeMessage: Never say maybe - Be Marlboro
Location: July 2013 - Indonesia
Comments: Per the study, "Personal functions include the management ... of negative and positive affect, the presentation of self and the preparation of self for possibly stressful situations."


Yes or NoMessage: Yes or no. Don't be a maybe. Be Marlboro
Location: Germany - 2012
Comments: Per the study, "The second step is a type of initiation/rite of passage and may occur before or during adolescence. Typically two or more friends steal cigarettes from a parent and sneak away to a private place to smoke."


left or right don't be maybeMessage: Left or right. Don't be a maybe. Be Marlboro
Location: Germany - June 2012
Comments: German government banned ad campaign on October 9, 2013 for targeting youth.


left or right no more maybeMessage: Left or right - No more maybe - Be Marlboro
Location: Israel - March 2013
Comments: PMI Maybe ad assaults are believed to have ended in Israel in May/June 2013


Up or downMessage: Up or down - Don't be a maybe - Be Marlboro
Location: January 2012
Comments: Per the study, "Negative Effect Management. Smoking and its attendant behavior can function to reduce negative feelings such as fear, anxiety, stress or anger."


stand or sit don't be a maybeMessage: Sit or stand - Don't be a maybe - Be Marlboro
Location: Germany - June 2012
Comments: Per the study appendix: "I remember being in the lunch room sitting on the floor. I was probably five. There were several adults in the room, maybe five mostly male. They were talking and watching TV, possibly sports. At least several of them were smoking. The smoking seemed to be, at least to a five year old, what was really the most important event in the room. Several times after that I remember copying their behavior, using crayons (crayolas) as my cigarettes."


in or out -  no more maybe - be MarlboroMessage: In or out - No more maybe - Be Marlboro
Location: Israel - March 2013
Comments: PMI Maybe ad assaults are believed to have ended in Israel in May/June 2013


Now or never? No more maybe. Call me xoxoMessage: Now or never? - No more maybe - Be Marlboro
Call me X0X0
Location: Israel - March 2013
Comments: Per the study, "Smoking is for people who like to take risks ... taboos, who take life as an adventure to prove themselves"


Maybe goes nowhereMessage: Maybe goes nowhere - Be Marlboro
Location: Germany - January 2012
Comments: Per the study, "The American culture is a young culture which emphasizes improvement, achievement ... impossible dreams" "The American identity should be the core"


Maybe will never fall in loveMessage: Maybe never fell in love - Be Marlboro
Location: Germany - June 2012
Comments: Notice the bit of extra skin in this ad as compared to the next. Per the study, "Insist that ... smoking is for people who like to take risks"


Maybe never fell in loveMessage: Maybe never fell in love - Be Marlboro
Location: Italy - October 2012
Comments: Per the study, "It can therefore be assumed that smoking functions as a means whereby young people can identify themselves with these characteristics (maturity, strength, wisdom and attractiveness). In short, it helps them to identify and demonstrate their ideal 'self image'"


Maybe wouldn't take a chance.  Be MarlboroMessage: Maybe wouldn't take a chance - Be Marlboro
Location: Germany - June 2012
Comments: Per the study, "Recommendations Based on the Archetype:" "Insist that ... smoking is for people who like to take risks, who are not afraid of taboos, who take life as an adventure to prove themselves."


Maybe never fell in loveMessage: Maybe never fell in love
Location: Germany - January 2013
Comments: Per the study appendix: "I remember my father in his orange chair relaxing talking to me and smoking. I would only change myself to be sitting on his lap while we talked."


Maybe never wrote a songMessage: Maybe never wrote a song - Be Marlboro
Location: Germany - May 2012
Comments: The study concludes cigarette marketing should emphasize "achievement," "self-actualization" and "impossible dreams."


Maybe never wrote a songMessage: Maybe never wrote a song - Be Marlboro
Location: June 2012
Comments: Per the study appendix: "I guess what I remember most is my father who every morning, would go to the kitchen table, get a cup of coffee and light a cigarette. He always smiled and was very happy on most mornings. I don't ever remember him being in a bad mood."


Maybe never rocksMessage: Maybe never rocks - Be Marlboro
Location: Germany - August 2012
Comments: "Law and the mores deny high school students the right to enjoy the pleasures derived from tobacco ... which seems to act as a stimulus to many young people who desire to experience the supposed thrill of pleasures their elders deny them."


Marlboro Maybe boss add tumbnailMessage: Maybe will never be her own boss. - Be Marlboro
Location: Germany - June 2012
Comments: The study concludes cigarette marketing should emphasize "improvement, achievement," "self-actualization" and "impossible dreams."


Maybe never found a wayMessage: Maybe never found a way - Be Marlboro
Location: Germany - June 2012
Comments: Per the study, marketing should emphasize "freedom, self-actualization, second chances, impossible dreams, etc."


Maybe never reached the topMessage: Maybe never reached the top - Be Marlboro
Location: Germany - June 2012
Comments: German government banned ad campaign on October 9, 2013 for targeting youth.


A Maybe never reached the top girl woman MarlboroMessage: A maybe never reached the top. Don't be a maybe - Be Marlboro
Location: 2012 Per the study, "Recommendations Based on the Archetype:" "Insist that ... smoking is for people who like to take risks."


A Philip Morris cigarette advertisement which states 'A maybe has no fun. Don't be a maybe. Be Marlboro.'  It shows what appears to be three risk taking teenagers jumping fully clothed from a 10 foot laddered platform attached to the side of a building into a swimming pool.Message: A maybe has no fun. Don't be a maybe - Be Marlboro
Location: Germany - 2012
Comments: Per the PM study, Appendix C: "Two weeks ago - hung out late at my non-smoking office with my smoker boss. Everyone went home and she and I got a Pepsi can out of trash and smoked in the office. It was fun!"


A Philip Morris cigarette advertisement which states 'A Maybe never enjoys the moment. Don't be a maybe. Be Marlboro.'  It shows the hands and face of a female lighting a cigarette.Message: A Maybe never enjoys the moment. Don't be a maybe. - Be Marlboro
Location: Germany - 2012
Comments: Per the PM study, Page 7, "Law and the mores deny high school students the right to enjoy the pleasures derived from tobacco""


As which states 'A Maybe is not invited, Marlboro BEAT' picturing a young disappointed looking man wearing a hat while pointing a finger at himselfMessage: A maybe is not invited - Marlboro BEAT
Location: Switzerland - 2014
Comments: Per the Philip Morris study, "The first imprinting of smoking is that adults do it. and I'm excluded."


Maybe never feels freeMessage: Maybe never feels free - Be Marlboro
Location: Germany - May 2012
Comments: According to PM's Archetype Project study, "American identity should be the core." It's a "young culture" that emphasizes, among other things, "freedom"!


Maybe never winsMessage: Maybe never wins
Location: Italy - October 2012
Comments: Per the study, "The first imprinting of smoking is that adults do it, and I'm excluded. In particular, adults do it when they're socializing, having fun, or relaxing."


YouTube screenshot Maybe never reached the topMessage: Maybe never reached the top
Location: Latvia - July 16, 2012
Comments: YouTube video of Maybe jump attraction. Link to second longer YouTube video featuring lower jump. Equating smoking risks to fun risks.


Maybe never lights up the night.  Be MarlboroMessage: Maybe never lights up the night - Be Marlboro
Location: Germany - June 2012
Comments: Per the study, "I remember my Dad and his Pall Mall straights. I remember him looking young and tan with that cigarette always in his mouth. I was 3 years old."


Maybe never learned to flyMessage: Maybe never learned to fly - Be Marlboro
Location: Germany - August 2012
Comments: "Law and the mores deny high school students the right to enjoy the pleasures derived from tobacco ... which seems to act as a stimulus to many young people who desire to experience the supposed thrill of pleasures their elders deny them."


Maybe I will take the challenge - Marlboro Message: Maybe I will take the challenge - Be Marlboro
Location: August 2013 - Indonesia
Comments: Billboard on Route Malioboro


Change does not start with a maybeMessage: Change does not start with a maybe - Marlboro
Location: Germany - February 2013
Comments: Per the study, "The first imprinting of smoking is that adults do it and I'm excluded." Smoking is a "right of passage and may occur before or during adolescence."


Freedom does not start with a maybeMessage: Freedom does not start with a maybe - Marlboro
Location: Germany - February 2013
Comments: According to PM's Archetype Project study, "American identity should be the core." It's a "young culture" that emphasizes, among other things, "freedom"!


History does not start with a maybeMessage: History does not start with a maybe - Marlboro
Location: Germany - February 2013
Comments: Per the study, "Transgressing the restrictions imposed by law and taboo is a source of excitement, both individually and within the clique of the initiated. This kind of excitement, of course, does not appeal to all adolescents".


a maybe never made historyMessage: A maybe never made history - Don't be a maybe
Location: Germany - December 2012
Comments: The Germany link suggests that this ad of an old woman may have been introduced after allegations of youth targeting.


Don't be a maybeMessage: Don't be a maybe - Be Marlboro
Location: Germany - February 2012
Comments: Per the study, "Negative Effect Management. Smoking and its attendant behavior can function to reduce negative feelings such as fear, anxiety, stress or anger."


Don't be a maybe, be MarlboroMessage: Don't be a maybe - Be Marlboro
Location: April 2012
Comments: Per the study, "Negative Effect Management. Smoking and its attendant behavior can function to reduce negative feelings such as fear, anxiety, stress or anger."


Don't be a maybe - back stage and missing rock concert MarlboroMessage: Don't be a maybe - Be Marlboro
Location: Germany - May 2012
Comments: Per the study, "Rituals involve taboos. Smoking is part of a rite of passage. Rituals are noted for their ability to reduce anxiety. Rituals often reinforce social bonds. Ritualistic elements can have strong sacred/symbolic significance."


Don't be a maybeMessage: Don't be a maybe - Marlboro
Location: Germany - December 2012
Comments: Per the study, "We hypothesize that cigarettes smoked in situations containing elements from imprinting and/or initiation would be more likely to fully reactivate the mental highway"


Don't be a maybeMessage: Don't be a maybe - Marlboro
Location: Germany - October 1, 2013
Comments: This may be one of the ads that provoked German health officials to make the ad campaign ban official on October 9.


A Philip Morris International advertisement which states, 'Maybe it's time to action. Be Marlboro,' with the word Maybe crossed through.  It shows a totally airbourne snow-boarder holding onto the board with one hand, with the peaks of snow covered mountains in the background.Message: Maybe it's time for action - Be Marlboro
Location: 2013 - Indonesia
Comments: From the PM study, "Stress that smoking is dangerous. Smoking is for people who like to take risks, who are not afraid of taboos, who take life as an adventure to prove themselves."


Maybe it's time to exploreMessage: Maybe it's time to explore - Be Marlboro
Location: July 2013 - Indonesia
Comments: Indoor display banner in Indomaret


It's time to explore - Be MarlboroMessage: Maybe it's time to explore - Be Marlboro
Location: August 2013 - Indonesia
Comments: Indoor display banner at Cirle K convenience store


Don't be a maybe Be MarlboroMessage: Don't be a maybe - Be Marlboro
Location: Germany - June 2012
Comments: Indoor display. German government banned ad campaign on October 9, 2013 for targeting youth.


PMI advertisement stating 'Be the dream, be Marlboro. The ad shows a young male in a sailor's skull cap holding a lit cigarette while gazing out at the ocean from what appears to be a boat, while a couple in front and below him gaze out at the ocean too.Message: Be the dream - Be Marlboro
Location: Germany - 2012
Comments: The German government banned this PMI Marlboro ad campaign on October 9, 2013 for targeting youth.



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Written October 29, 2013 and updated June 7, 2015 by John R. Polito