Phillip Morris International


Brief Story

Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) is an American multinational tobacco company with products sold in over 180 countries.  Philip Morris developed the IQOS device in 2014, utilizing a heating approach instead of burning, and it has shown to emit 96.2% less PAHs than tobacco cigarettes. IQOS is considered less cytotoxic, but the tobacco use in the device makes it face significant advertising challenges due to restrictions on major online platforms like Meta and Google. These highlight the complexities of marketing tobacco-related products in the digital marketing era.


The primary challenge faced was the advertising restrictions on tobacco-based products, significantly limiting the visibility of IQOS on mainstream online platforms. This necessitated a creative approach to reach potential customers through digital channels. Through automated methods, we had selective opportunities to advertise on selected apps and websites.

IQOS Lumia

The Solution

We shortlisted a few DSPs and used Double Verify to build a brand-safe list of publishers. Since we were running ads on different publishers and in-app inventories, we had to retarget users: a) who clicked/engaged with the ad and b) who clicked the ad and landed on the soft age-gate to purchase on the website.

To retarget these users, we needed their details/data in a format/form where they can be easily identified based on their engagement behavior and journey. For this, we proposed the following solution:

Identification of Tools and Platforms

  • We strategically selected Criteo and Zest Stack as our Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) to execute campaigns focused on awareness, traffic, and conversions.
  • We employed Double Verify to create a brand-safe list of publishers, ensuring our ads appeared in appropriate contexts mitigating risks associated with brand image.

Data Management and Retargeting Strategy

  1. Lotame, our chosen Data Management Platform (DMP), was essential in organizing and leveraging campaign data for maximum impact.
  2. We implemented Google Floodlight Pixel to track user interactions and engagement across different platforms precisely.
  3. D-Engage was utilized as the Customer Data Platform (CDMP) to streamline our CRM campaigns, enhancing customer engagement and retargeting efforts.


The strategic approach yielded remarkable results:

  • Website Engagement: Monthly website visitors surged to over 42,000.
  • Purchase Value Increase: Total monthly purchase value reached AED 180,000+.
  • ROAS Achievement: An impressive Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) of 8x, significantly above average, was achieved.hi
IQOS Lumia Blue
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