Growing up, everyone knew him. He was synonymous with cool. The Marlboro Man brought the rugged, tough American cowboy to life for folks across the country. And he sold an awful lot of cigarettes.
For commercial photographers, landing the Marlboro account meant very good things: generous and steady income, a substantial expense account and nation-wide exposure. For Dad, it meant a chance to create something he already loved—Old West Art.
So in the late 1980’s Dad set out to win over the advertising agency that handled Marlboro. He started by studying existing Marlboro photos. Then he began planning shots that had a similar feel, but with his own interpretation like “End of the Day”.
Over the next couple of years he assembled about 20-30 shots in between shooting for his regular commercial advertising clients. He had a few adventures along the way too. Dad’s model, a Dallas neighbor from a few streets over, was often mistaken for the Marlboro Man and occasionally Robert Redford (but that’s a story for anther day).
While shooting “End of the Day” in Utah, Dad and crew overheard some tourists speculating that Marlboro must be shooting some ads. They, apparently, thought Dad nailed “the look”.
While Dad came close to shooting for Marlboro, ultimately he didn’t land the account. It didn’t bother him too much.
“I always wanted to do that kind of stuff–landscapes like Ansel Adams and Westerns like Marlboro. So no I don’t regret going after the account,” Dad said. “It was a great adventure trying to figure out how to do it. I ended up with a great portfolio.”