VINSON: Shades of the Marlboro man
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By MIKE VINSON

Smoker or nonsmoker, I have to assume that practically everyone reading this column is familiar with the term "Marlboro Man," either by TV ad, magazine ad, billboard ad, etc.

The Marlboro Man ad campaign was created in 1954 by Leo Burnett to promote Marlboro cigarettes. The original Marlboro Man (1954) was a tanned, rugged cowboy wearing a cowboy hat, standing out in the middle of somewhere, puffing on a Marlboro cigarette.

It has been said that the Marlboro Man ad campaign is the most successful of all time, reportedly increasing sales of the name-brand cigarette, worldwide. Though there were many Marlboro Men models-for lack of a better term-the original cowboy in 1954 remains the most popular.

If my research is correct, the Marlboro Man ad campaign ceased in 1999.

It was a couple weeks back, and my niece, Samantha, and I were celebrating our birthdays. Since my birthday is January 13, and her birthday is January 15, our family celebrates the Sunday after both birthdays have fallen.

At the site of the birthday celebration, Samantha handed me a pouch with a pair of sunglasses. She informed me that, even though she had given up smoking, she still received gifts from the Marlboro company, from time-to-time.

She went on to tell me that, for whatever reason, Marlboro had sent her this pair of men's Marlboro sunglasses, and she was giving them to me.

I readily accepted the designer sunglasses: They had a cool, trendy appeal, and, too, I needed a pair. Since I have a bad history of loosing sunglasses, I made a silent commitment I would exert more diligence in hanging onto these.

It was several days after our birthday party, and I decided to make a visit to the Magness Library (public library) in downtown McMinnville.  The reason for the visit was I was away from my laptop and needed to check my e-mail. Magness Library has numerous computers for public use.

I went to the desk clerk, got a PIN number, and logged on. I stayed online for about 20 minutes, logged off, then exited the library . . . my sunglasses! Where were they?!

Frantically, I dug deep inside my pant pockets-not there! Next, I nearly tore out my jacket pockets-nowhere!

Then it hit me: I had taken them off while on the computer and placed them on the desk! I rushed back inside the library and straight to the computer terminal at which I'd set just minutes prior-no Marlboro sunglasses!

I finally conceded that I'd taken off the sunglasses at the computer desk, totally forgotten them for a few minutes, and someone had noticed and taken them. It served me right!

Before leaving the library, I asked the desk clerk for the key to the public restroom, located on the second floor, Walking up the steps to the John, I kept silently chastising myself for the sunglasses gaffe.

I unlocked the public restroom door and went inside. After conducting business, I went to the basin to wash my hands.

Raising my head to splash some water on my face, to calm down, more than any other reason, I thought, "Ohhh-nooo, surely not!"

You got it, pretty as you please, there they sat up top of my head, kinda buried between my hair and ears, my Marlboro sunglasses.

I am forced to admit I walked out of Magness Library, that day, with mixed emotions: Though I had managed to salvage my cool Marlboro shades, I felt like a mere shade of the real Marlboro Man.

Thankfully, as of writing this column, I still have possession of my Marlboro sunglasses.

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Member Opinions:
By: poplarbluff on 2/8/13
I recall switching from Kool cigs in the cotton fields of my youth...asking my older brother to buy me Marlboro cigarettes after watching the cool-looking Marlboro Man...


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