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Defining best practice for digital age verification

ID platform Xydus guards against youth access to tobacco and nicotine related marketing activities for Philip Morris International.



A pioneering partnership began when Philip Morris International (PMI) asked Xydus to secure how the tobacco company communicates and markets to adult consumers. It was a prestigious second-ever client in Xydus corporate history, which today represents a decade-long age verification contractual relationship. The PMI conglomerate is legislatively compelled to impose strict rules to ensure minors are not given access to sponsored marketing activities. Local, international, and internal policies apply to all advertising, competitions, direct communication, and campaigns; whether branded or unbranded. PMI relies on Xydus to validate and authenticate a consumer’s age before allowing them to participate in promotional events or campaigns.


There was a period when European regulators aggressively pursued big tobacco, knowing that the mechanisms being applied to fulfil and comply with age verification statutes were limited in their ability to provide substantive evidence post the actual verification event. Enter Xydus. We were tasked with helping Marlboro cigarette-maker Philip Morris International to resolve the audit challenge of age verification. The regulatory obligation is that the evidence authenticating your consumers is robustly age verified. Our solution supports automated image capture and/or upload of the consumer’s government issued photo ID (limiting acceptable IDs to Driver Licenses, National ID Cards and Passports was a determination made by PMI and supported by our solution). The solution further supports a first-time successful completion by extracting the personal details from the consumers ID. This data is automatically applied to the registration form. These capabilities positively impact the user experience in conjunction with reducing PMIs exposure to fraud.


Focussing on compulsory age validation and authentication - extracting and re-using the authorised ID data within a marketing competition journey - Xydus deployed an online service for Philip Morris International leveraging automated user journeys, Optimal Character Recognition (OCR) and auto-decisioning protocols controlled by PMI. In addition to registration, the solution has continued to evolve through the automatic inclusion of Xydus enhancements during the decade-long affiliation. Solution features include a broad range of Xydus’ software capabilities, which reduce exposure to risk, provide users with a positive and seamless experience and ensure that our clients maintain regulatory compliance no matter what changes the regulatory authority may announce and require going forward.

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