In July 1993, Philip Morris executives met to consider second-quarter data on U.S. tobacco sales. Three months earlier, the company had announced a 40-cent-per-pack promotion for Marlboro cigarettes, the number-one-selling cigarette in the world. On the day of the announcement, April 4, Philip Morris stock fell $14.75, to $49.375, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 68.63 points. On June 4, the company announced an extension of the promotion through August 8. Second-quarter data revealed that the company’s U.S. cigarette volume had fallen by one-fifth, while operating income from domestic tobacco sales had fallen by more than one-half. After eight months of consecutive share declines, however, Marlboro’s share had rebounded by three points. Philip Morris executives now faced several important decisions: Should the Marlboro promotion be extended beyond August 8? Should the promotion be replaced with a permanent cut in wholesale prices? Should the prices of other Philip Morris premium brands be lowered? Finally, should the prices of the company’s discount brands be altered in any way? See also the B case (UVA-M-0473).
Darden Business Publishing – University of Virginia