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Mate, an Argentinian icon used to promote cigarettes
  1. María Belén Arnaudo1,
  2. Emilia Elicabe1,
  3. Crawford Moodie2,
  4. Georgia Alexandrou2,
  5. Raul Mejia1
  1. 1Centro de Estudios de Estado y Sociedad, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  2. 2Institute of Social Marketing and Health, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK
  1. Correspondence to Ms María Belén Arnaudo, Centro de Estudios de Estado y Sociedad, Buenos Aires 1173, Argentina; arnaudo{at}

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One of the marketing strategies the tobacco industry deploys is the use of culturally significant symbols, practices and values to promote its products.1 2 Between October and November 2023, Marlboro launched a promotion in Argentina related to the caffeine-rich infused herbal drink mate, a deep-rooted tradition among Argentines. The promotion was identified in a convenience store in Buenos Aires during routine monitoring of tobacco products. With the purchase of a pack of Marlboro Crafted cigarettes and an additional payment of 1000 Argentine pesos (US$2.81), the customer receives a mate and bombilla, that is, the container and straw needed to drink the infusion with the same name (see figure 1). Notably, the standalone price of the same mate and bombilla online was 6000 pesos (US$16.86), making this promotion a considerable value proposition.

Figure 1

Marlboro Crafted promotion, with mate and bombilla.

Mate is an expression of Argentina’s cultural identity and a symbol of union and friendship that …

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  • Contributors MBA, EE and RM contributed to the conceptualisation and data collection. MBA wrote the first draft of the manuscript. EE, RM, GA and CM contributed to edits and final revision of the manuscript.

  • Funding This work is part of the ‘Removing the Marketing Power of cigarettes’ (REMAP) Project, funded by the Medical Research Council (MR/X004279/1).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.