Thursday, May 4, 2017

107. A Light of Hope: HOPE CIGARETTES, 1979

In the mid 1970s, Fortune Tobacco Corporation of Lucio Tan, ruled the Philippine cigarette market led by brands like More, Westpoint, Camel, Salem, Champion and HOPE INTERNATIONAL LUXURY CIGARETTES, sold as mentholated sticks. The company was founded in 1966, with a decrepit plant made of GI sheets and scrap lumber in Marikina, equipped with second hand machines. It would grow to become one of the five largest privately-held cigarette manufacturers in the world.

The success of their brands were largely due to their massive tri-media advertising and promotions, which was handled by their agency, J. Romero and Associates. There was a deliberate decision to give the Fortune cigarette line an imported image, and in fact, most of the brands in their early advertising, featured Caucasian talents.

HOPE CIGARETTES were advertised on the basis of their “mentholated freshness”. The TVCs showed foreign talents engaged in such exhilarating Western leisure like sky-diving, sky wake-boarding and speed boat racing to drive home the “freshness” story. Sure enough, HOPE CIGARETTES became the largest luxury cigarette in the country.

But what made even HOPE CIGARETTES more popular was a jingle that had a genuine American feel courtesy of the singer who sounded like Karen Carpenter—then one of the leading voices of the airwaves.

“There’s a light of HOPE…when you light a HOPE…there’s a light of HOPE for you…”, went the jingle, sang soulfully by the singer—Claire de la Fuente, then 21, who was assigned by composer George Canseco to sing the jingle. It accompanied a TVC which aired in late 1979, that featured paragliders soaring on yonder blue skies.


The song took HOPE CIGARETTES to an all-time high in terms of awareness and popularity, but it also catapulted the singer to fame. As the campaign evolved, the jingle was rearranged, and, in subsequent versions, popular lines from the lyrics (“there’s a light of hope) as well as the melody would be integrated in future incarnations of the jingle.

In 2010, Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing Inc. and Fortune Tobacco created a new corporation called Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC). HOPE CIGARETTES would continue to be a prized part of the product portfolio in the next decades. HOPE would have a period of highs and lows—the recent blow was the implementation of the reformed sin tax in January 2013 that jacked up its prices. But, for a well-known and well-loved brand,  always “there’s a light of hope” for its future!

Hope Luxury Cigarettes TV Commercial 1980 (Digitally Restored and Remastered Version, by Lian Las Pinas, published 14April 2017.


  1. However, In 1986, it changed to:

    "It's so cool, Sharing all the fun
    Sharing something new cool long after the day is come
    When we share a Hope, the share of fun
    Sharing good times with everyone
    Keep it cool and fresh,
    Share and enjoy that great Hope freshness
    ....That great Hope freshness!"

    In 1991 when it updated the lyrics of the 1980 and 1986 versions:
    "There's a light of Hope, when you light of Hope
    Keep it cool and fresh,
    Share and enjoy that great HOPE freshness!"
    VO: HOPE, the largest-selling luxury cigarette.

    1. Ate may lyrics po ba kayo ng ad ng Champion Cigarettes?

  2. What a romantic brand name for cigarettes. Luckily we can find some luxury duty free cigarettes online.