Altria Group Inc.: It's A Woman Thing campaign

Megan Mcnamer



OVERVIEW

NOTE: Since the initial appearance of this essay in the 1998 edition of Major Marketing Campaigns Annual, The Philip Morris Companies changed its name to Altria Group Inc. The essay continues to refer to the company's former name, as that was the official name of the organization when the campaign was launched.

The slogan Philip Morris Companies Inc. used in 1968 to launch its Virginia Slims campaign—"You've Come a Long Way, Baby"—effectively combined the two seemingly dissimilar marketing themes of female attractiveness and women's rights. The series of ads were highly successful, however, and in 1996 the company introduced a successor campaign with the slogan "It's a Woman Thing."

The new campaign, which was directed by Leo Burnett USA of Chicago, took on what might be called a post-feminist ironic tone. For example, a photo of a beautiful blond woman on a motorcycle was accompanied by the line "I don't necessarily want to run the world, but I wouldn't mind taking it for a ride." Another ad showed a young woman who exuded beauty, happiness, and "female cool" polishing her nails a metallic blue. The accompanying line asked, "Does this look stupid on me? The correct answer to the question is 'No.' "

HISTORICAL CONTEXT