Marketing Practices

Philip Morris USA is guided by Altria Group's Vision, The Altria Way and Altria's Code of Conduct. We're committed to marketing our products responsibly by building relationships between adult smokers and our brands while taking steps designed to limit reach to unintended audiences.

We market brands such as Marlboro, L&M, Parliament and Virginia Slims in the United States. We compete to grow our share of the market. This means we want adult smokers to remain loyal to our brands. And we want adult smokers who smoke other brands to switch to ours.

Consumer Communications

We work hard to market our products to adult smokers and to limit the reach of our materials to unintended audiences. We verify that smokers are 21 or older before they receive branded one-to-one communications, enter one of our brand websites or attend consumer engagement programs.

  • One-to-one Communications - We use direct mail and email to support the launch of products, invite adult smokers to consumer engagement programs, announce brand promotions and deliver coupons and other communications. We maintain a secure database of age-verified adult smokers who have elected to hear from us. A person may request to no longer receive communications from us at any time.
  • Consumer Websites - Our age-restricted brand websites enable adult smokers to interact with our brands. We use these sites to build brand equity, deliver news and provide promotional support.
  • Consumer Marketing Activities - We offer consumer engagement programs, such as trips to the Crazy Mountain Ranch in Montana, to reinforce brand equity.

In 2019, FDA authorized sale of the IQOS heated tobacco system in the U.S. market. PM USA, under an exclusive licensing agreement with Philip Morris International, will commercialize IQOS in the U.S. with three HeatStick variants. We'll use innovative new tools to raise adult smoker awareness of the product, provide education and product trial, and support their conversion to IQOS over time. Plans include:

  • digital banner ads and print ads for IQOS in our lead markets
  • IQOS focused stores and mobile units within our lead markets
  • allowing adult smokers to initiate a trial period with IQOS
  • building a consumer engagement and customer care program, including tips on device usage and maintenance, information about where to buy Heatsticks, and encouragement to convert from conventional cigarettes
  • leveraging Philip Morris USA's extensive age-verified adult smoker database, Marlboro digital tools and web analytics to identify potential IQOS consumers and communicate with them about IQOS

Social Media

Social media has become a ubiquitous part of everyday life for many people and a powerful channel for companies to stay connected to their consumers. We are committed to keeping our consumers at the center of everything we do. As social media continues to shift how people communicate across the world, we will consider the implications for how we responsibly engage with our adult tobacco consumers. As always, we will be guided by our current marketing practices, including taking steps designed to limit reach to unintended audiences.

Trade Programs

We offer trade programs to retailers and wholesalers that help them responsibly manage the cigarette category. Our retail trade program is built on effective category management principles, including:

  • merchandising our products in an organized way;
  • having our brands in-stock and available;
  • having our most popular brands in preferred positions;
  • clearly communicating price and promotional offers; and
  • deterring access by underage purchasers.

The program also includes features to help prevent underage access to tobacco products that are not required by federal law, including:

  • training store personnel who sell tobacco products using We Card® or equivalent training;
  • displaying We Card or equivalent signage;
  • using an age verification tool;
  • placing retail signage that tells adults not to buy tobacco products for kids; and
  • adhering to the Master Settlement Agreement.

We offer additional financial incentives to retailers who refrain from placing any cigarettes, cigarette signs or brand imagery associated with cigarettes on top of or below the front of the selling counter. We also limit the location, size and amount of PM USA interior and exterior signs at retail.

Age Process Verification

We limit access to our brand websites to smokers 21 years of age or older. No one can gain access unless we first verify that he or she meets this requirement, either through face-to-face examination of their valid government-issued ID or through our electronic age-verification process.

Electronic age verification works by comparing personal information an individual provides against public-records databases and other third-party data sources to find matching records that independently verify the personal information, and confirm that the individual is old enough to access the website. If the individual’s age cannot be verified, then he or she is denied access to the website.

To further prevent underage persons from accessing our brand websites, we have registered the sites with providers of age-filtering software. Such software is used to block access to websites considered unsuitable for children.

Marketing Restrictions

Cigarette marketing and sales are regulated at the federal, state and local level.

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Product Placement Requests

We’ve had a policy since 1990 to deny all requests for permission to use or display our brands in any movies, television shows, video games or other public entertainment media.

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