Another iconic Marlboro cowboy has ridden off into the sunset. Eric Lawson, the fifth “Marlboro Man” to die from a smoking related disease, passed away on January 10, 2014. He had been a smoker since age 14 and appeared in Marlboro ads from 1978 to 1981. He died of respiratory failure due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Rugged and good looking, the Marlboro Man was the brainchild of an advertising campaign to make the new filtered cigarettes appear more masculine. While most cigarette advertising in the 1950s made claims of the health benefits of smoking a filtered cigarette, Marlboro tried a different approach. The Marlboro advertiser used manly figures from different walks of life to sell their product, rather than using health claims to pitch the brand. From 1954 to 1999 the American cowboy image was the face of Marlboro. The advertising worked, and Marlboro market share rose from “less than 1% to the fourth best-selling brand.”
The other Marlboro men who have ridden into the sunset include:
David Millar was one of the first Marlboro Men in the 1950s. He passed away from emphysema.
Wayne McLaren was the face of Marlboro in the 1970s. He became an anti-smoking advocate after he learned he was dying of lung cancer. He passed away in 1992 after a 30 year smoking habit.
David McLean was a film and television actor as well as a life-long smoker. He appeared in Marlboro television and print ads from the early 1960s. McLean had suffered from emplysema and had a tumor removed from his lung. He died of lung cancer.
Richard Hammer, a Marlboro Man from the 1970s, died from lung cancer.