Marlboro cigarettes' red-and-white box and distinct typeface created one of the world's most powerful brands — by some estimates, one of the 10 most recognized consumer products.

In Australia, the red chevron is now taboo. Since the start of the year, customers looking for Marlboros must get beyond the "drab" wrappers mandated for all cigarettes, the warning label at the top of the pack, and the picture of the gangrenous foot or rotting gums in the middle, to find the brand name snuggled at the very bottom, in nondescript type.

For an industry that has thrived off effective marketing, from the rugged mystique of the Marlboro Man to the women's lib appeal of Virginia Slims, Australia's new "plain packaging" rules are a further sign of how the tide has turned.