Media Excerpts (PMI)

Marian Salzman - A globally recognized Trendspotter

Marian Salzman - A globally recognized Trendspotter

“Philip Morris Is Shifting the Goalpost in the Tobacco Industry”
Kursiv (Kazakhstan), June 2019

“…Marian Salzman, Senior Vice President Global Communications at Philip Morris International, spoke about the company’s path to transformation and the concept of a smoke-free future. Sharing her plans, she said, ‘Undoubtedly, the biggest transformation has recently occurred internally. We decided to give up everything we knew before, to reject the traditions and habits of the cigarette business in order to become completely different. For us, it has been like flying on an airplane when you don’t know for certain what’s waiting ahead for you. Yes, this journey is unpredictable, but it’s also how we’ll learn to teach people around the world to be more resilient, and to not be afraid of change. For me, transformation is a new way of working, a new way of seeing and feeling the world.”

Marian Salzman - A globally recognized Trendspotter

Marian Salzman - A globally recognized Trendspotter

“Marian Salzman: We Must Set an Example of Gender Equality”
Kapital.kz (Kazakhstan), June 2019

On PMI’s commitment to a gender-equal workplace: “It’s easy to build a career when you have already been working, when your children have grown. But it’s not so easy for parents with babies. For them, PMI provides generous benefits and financial support. The company pays special attention to young women and expectant mothers—it is more difficult for them to find a job and move up the career ladder. We provide an opportunity to improve their professional skills through various programs and trainings, as well as to occupy leadership positions, but this is still not enough.”


“Marian’s Predictions: What the Near Future Holds for the World and How to Deal with It”
Vremya (Kazakhstan), June 2019

“…I think IQOS is a part of the future. New technologies will gradually replace the things we are used to, not only with cigarettes but also with other items such as food, drink, fuel, etc. IQOS is the beginning of transformation of the tobacco industry. I’m excited about it. Of course, I can’t say with absolute certainty that over the next 25 years everyone will switch to using IQOS, because I have no idea what will happen in 25 years.”


“Mission Smoke-Free Future”
EVA (Bulgaria), May 2019

On how #UnsmokeYourWorld will evolve: “I think that the most important thing is for people to start a dialog because it is most exciting for everyone to try to convince someone else to switch to a smoke-free alternative. Initially, I asked the employees of Philip Morris International to send me their stories. We received more than 800 videos of people from different countries. In one of them an employee from France recounted how she tried to persuade her husband to switch to a smoke-free alternative—with photos of ashtrays brimming with cigarettes or smoking on the terrace in the freezing cold, or using me as an authority and saying that a company vice president claimed that the smoke-free alternative was the better alternative, etc. It was only when she told him that she was pregnant that he ‘made the switch.’ And I felt part of this process. I share this because I think that when people convince other people to switch to a smoke-free alternative, they are very proud of this.

“We also received some funny stories such as if you have a cat or a dog and light a cigarette, they will run away because of the smoke. But if you use a smoke-free product, the cat will purr in your lap. Therefore, we say: ‘Do it because of the smell on the sofa, for your pet, for your wife, for your grandchild.’ This global campaign will evolve in the next five years, and, if it is personalized and adapted to the local conditions, it will be successful, as all countries have their specific traditions, prejudices, and laws.”


Marian Salzman - A globally recognized Trendspotter

“Marketing in the Age of Rage: Philipp Westermeyer Interviews Marian Salzman”
OMR19, Apr. 2019

On the difficulties PMI faces in letting go of its legacy business: “We’re not only trying to let go of our legacy business; we’re trying to let go of legacy hate…We have haters who hate us for things that happened…in some cases, before I was even born. But [it’s] a legacy we have to get rid of by doing the right thing, which we’ve been doing for a decade in terms of investing money to come up with alternatives [to combustible cigarettes]. And we need to just move forward into the future.

“Transformation is rough, but the hardest part is the emotional transformation, the embracing of constant change, because transformation isn’t a beginning and an end; it’s a constant journey, it’s every single day.”

On diversity and equality: “I’m really passionate about female equality. I’m really passionate about diversity and inclusion. I really believe that we live in a world that’s made better by a more diverse population. I’m super proud of the fact that Philip Morris is the first Fortune 500 company to be EQUAL-SALARY certified in every country in which we do business. We pay men and women equally. So I think there are some very good things about our company that get lost in what I’m going to call the ‘history of tobacco.’”


Marian Salzman - A globally recognized Trendspotter

“Reinvention and Innovation”
The Switzer Show, Mar. 2019

On what trends Marian is seeing related to smoking: “Number one, it is not cool to smoke cigarettes. I think that is a universal truth that is probably not as true yet in the truly emerging nations. But it is very much true in what I’m going to call the modern Westernized world…People don’t want to be around other people who are burning tobacco. Smoking is uncool.

“What’s interesting is that this recognition about smoke is actually carrying over to other things. I love barbecue, and I used to love a fireplace. I’m building a new house, and I banned fireplaces because I don’t want smoke in my home because of what I’ve learned from working at Philip Morris. The backlash against burn is coming.”

On a smoke-free future: “I’ve been at Philip Morris for eleven and a half months and have yet to have any exposure to combustible cigarettes. Our entire orientation is around the 20% of our portfolio that is in the ‘better for you’ category—the healthier products, the smoke-free products.

“We’ve invested a little over $6 billion in almost 10 years to reposition ourselves away from combustible cigarettes. I’d say with an increased frenzy and emphasis in the last four, four and a half years. The enemy of health in part is the smoke, is the burning. And as a consequence, what we are really trying to teach people to do is, obviously, if you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, you ought to quit. And if you don’t quit, you need to find a safer choice, and that safer choice is away from the burn. You do not want smoke in your life.”


Marian Salzman - A globally recognized Trendspotter

“Davos Podcast: Marcomms Leaders from Philip Morris, UWFP & TCS”
The Echo Chamber, Jan. 2019

On the job consideration process: “I had done over a five-month period an extraordinary amount of due diligence, and I couldn’t find any reason why people were still lumping [PMI] in Big Tobacco or hating them. Because here is a company that was taking its discretionary profits and sinking them into an alternative for people who smoke. So, I guess I got seduced by the mission.”

On the PMI transformation: “If Philip Morris stopped selling cigarettes this morning, nobody’s going to quit smoking. And we would not make a whit of difference other than really damaging the economies of some countries, because we’re a significant tax revenue source…and families—we have something like 88,000 employees around the world, and we have farmers and others…We wouldn’t accomplish any of our goal, which is for people to give up combustible cigarettes.”


Marian Salzman - A globally recognized Trendspotter

“CMOs at Davos: The Challenges of a Communications Pivot”
The Holmes Report, Jan. 2019

“…Speaking at a Wall Street Journal session on Communication in an Era of Disruption, Marian Salzman, the SVP of global communications at Philip Morris International, which is in the process of transforming from a cigarette manufacturer into a smoke-free company, said: ‘We have invested $4.5 billion in the science of getting it right as we move towards smoke-free. But I think we’ve been somewhat deficient on the emotional side because we put all of our stakes in being sure we had the data right, and now we have to invest our hearts and souls in understanding the hearts and the minds of the people we need to come along with us on this journey.

“’You can have all kinds of playbooks and legal guidelines but at the end of the day it comes down to how you engage with people. It’s important that we understand some people are really against cigarettes but they still love people who smoke. So we need to hear that and incorporate it into real-time messaging and real-time conversation on Twitter.”