Brand Finance logo

Marlboro lights its way up rankings to defend world’s most valuable tobacco brand title

28 June 2019
This article is more than 4 years old.

· Marlboro top of league, brand value up 10% to US$33.6 billion

· Indonesia’s Sampoerna moves up a notch, brand value US$3.2 billion

· Grizzly new entrant from British American Tobacco slides in at US$2.7 billion

· L&M is world’s strongest tobacco brand, registers Brand Strength Index (BSI) score 77.40 out of 100 and AAA brand rating

View the full Brand Finance Tobacco 10 2019 report here

Marlboro is the world’s most valuable tobacco brand, with a brand value of US$33.6 billion, according to the latest report by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand valuation consultancy.

As cigarette use declines in developed markets, tobacco brands are racing to develop next-generation products to fuel growth. Marlboro has seen success with its iQOS tobacco heating system which uses sophisticated electronics to heat specially designed heated tobacco units up to 350°C, without combustion, fire, ash, or smoke. This generates a flavourful nicotine-containing vapor, releasing the taste of heated tobacco. Marlboro, owned by Phillip Morris International, has an impressive brand presence through its sporting sponsorships, such as its longstanding commitment to Formula 1 and Ferrari.

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“As smoking habits continue to evolve and we see more smokers opting for vapes or e-cigarettes, the tobacco brands have not seen drastic improvements in their brand values since last year. There is now such a huge variety of alternative products that mean less smokers are purchasing packs of cigarettes and instead buying e-cigarettes which are widely available in local supermarkets, online, and in specialist vape shops.”

PMI’s Indonesian perfection
Flying the flag for Indonesia, Philip Morris International-owned Sampoerna moves up a notch, its brand value at US$3.2 billion. Popular in its domestic market, Liem Seeng Tee was the founder of PT HM Sampoerna Tbk, one of the largest tobacco companies in Indonesia. In the 1930s, Liem Seeng Tee adopted the Indonesian name Sampoerna meaning "perfection" as his family name, thus becoming the company's namesake.

Grizzly new entrant from BAT slides in at US$2.7 billion
The sole new entry to this year’s Brand Finance Tobacco 10 2019 league table is a British American Tobacco brand called Grizzly (brand value US$2.7 billion), making it the world’s 9th most valuable tobacco brand. Grizzly is an American brand of dipping tobacco or moist snuff that was introduced in 2001 and is currently only sold in the US market. It is made by the American Snuff Company and is available in pouches, with a variety of Fine Cut, Long Cut, Wide Cut, and Extra Long Cut.

L&M sparks up as world’s strongest
Aside from calculating overall brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. Along with the level of revenues, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value.

The strongest brand in the sector belongs to US brand L&M with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 77.40 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA brand rating. In the brand strength stakes, L&M is followed by Marlboro (77.40 out of 100) and Chesterfield (74.66 out of 100).


Note to Editors
Every year, Brand Finance values 5,000 of the world’s biggest brands. The 10 most valuable tobacco brands are included in the Brand Finance Tobacco 10 2019 ranking.

Brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors.

Additional insights, charts, and more information about the methodology, as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Tobacco 10 2019 report.

Data compiled for the Brand Finance rankings and reports are provided for the benefit of the media and are not to be used for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

Media Contacts

Penny Erricker
Communications Executive
Brand Finance

About Brand Finance

Brand Finance is the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. Bridging the gap between marketing and finance for more than 25 years, Brand Finance evaluates the strength of brands and quantifies their financial value to help organizations of all kinds make strategic decisions.

Headquartered in London, Brand Finance has offices in over 20 countries, offering services on all continents. Every year, Brand Finance conducts more than 5,000 brand valuations, supported by original market research, and publishes over 100 reports which rank brands across all sectors and countries.

Brand Finance also operates the Global Brand Equity Monitor, conducting original market research annually on over 5,000 brands, surveying more than 150,000 respondents across 38 countries and 31 industry sectors. Combining perceptual data from the Global Brand Equity Monitor with data from its valuation database enables Brand Finance to arm brand leaders with the data and analytics they need to enhance brand and business value.

Brand Finance is a regulated accountancy firm, leading the standardization of the brand valuation industry. Brand Finance was the first to be certified by independent auditors as compliant with both ISO 10668 and ISO 20671 and has received the official endorsement of the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB) in the United States.

Definition of Brand

Brand is defined as a marketing-related intangible asset including, but not limited to, names, terms, signs, symbols, logos, and designs, intended to identify goods, services, or entities, creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits.

Brand Strength

Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors. Brand Finance evaluates brand strength in a process compliant with ISO 20671, looking at Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and the impact of those on Business Performance. The data used is derived from Brand Finance’s proprietary market research programme and from publicly available sources.

Each brand is assigned a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score out of 100, which feeds into the brand value calculation. Based on the score, each brand is assigned a corresponding Brand Rating up to AAA+ in a format similar to a credit rating.

Brand Valuation Approach

Brand Finance calculates the values of brands in its rankings using the Royalty Relief approach – a brand valuation method compliant with the industry standards set in ISO 10668. It involves estimating the likely future revenues that are attributable to a brand by calculating a royalty rate that would be charged for its use, to arrive at a ‘brand value’ understood as a net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market.

The steps in this process are as follows:

1 Calculate brand strength using a balanced scorecard of metrics assessing Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and Business Performance. Brand strength is expressed as a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score on a scale of 0 to 100.

2 Determine royalty range for each industry, reflecting the importance of brand to purchasing decisions. In luxury, the maximum percentage is high, while in extractive industry, where goods are often commoditised, it is lower. This is done by reviewing comparable licensing agreements sourced from Brand Finance’s extensive database.

3 Calculate royalty rate. The BSI score is applied to the royalty range to arrive at a royalty rate. For example, if the royalty range in a sector is 0-5% and a brand has a BSI score of 80 out of 100, then an appropriate royalty rate for the use of this brand in the given sector will be 4%.

4 Determine brand-specific revenues by estimating a proportion of parent company revenues attributable to a brand.

5 Determine forecast revenues using a function of historic revenues, equity analyst forecasts, and economic growth rates.

6 Apply the royalty rate to the forecast revenues to derive brand revenues.

7 Discount post-tax brand revenues to a net present value which equals the brand value.


Brand Finance has produced this study with an independent and unbiased analysis. The values derived and opinions presented in this study are based on publicly available information and certain assumptions that Brand Finance used where such data was deficient or unclear. Brand Finance accepts no responsibility and will not be liable in the event that the publicly available information relied upon is subsequently found to be inaccurate. The opinions and financial analysis expressed in the study are not to be construed as providing investment or business advice. Brand Finance does not intend the study to be relied upon for any reason and excludes all liability to any body, government, or organisation.

The data presented in this study form part of Brand Finance's proprietary database, are provided for the benefit of the media, and are not to be used in part or in full for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

Get in Touch