SBD/Issue 161/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Ferrari President Slams Reports Linking Barcode Logo To Marlboro

Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo "has slammed claims his team's cars carry subliminal tobacco advertising," according to Ian Parkes of the PA. Several U.K. doctors are demanding an inquiry into the matter, suggesting that the "use of the barcode displayed on the Ferraris driven this year by Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa was a link to long-time sponsor Philip Morris" and its Marlboro brand. But Di Montezemolo said, "It is verging on the ridiculous to claim that the colour red or a graphic design which shows a barcode could induce people to smoke. At a time when, on the other side of the Atlantic they are fighting to provide a more equal health service, in the old continent of Europe, so-called experts are racking their brains to come up with theories that have no scientific basis. I think there are more important matters to think about than a barcode" (PA, 5/4). Ferrari in a statement said, "These reports are based on two suppositions: that part of the graphics featured on the Formula 1 cars are reminiscent of the Marlboro logo and even that the red colour which is a traditional feature of our cars is a form of tobacco publicity. Neither of these arguments have any scientific basis, as they rely on some alleged studies which have never been published in academic journals. But more importantly, they do not correspond to the truth." AUTOCAR.co.uk notes Marlboro "has a long association with the team and has retained its involvement until 2011 despite the advertising of tobacco products being banned from many countries F1 currently visits" (AUTOCAR.co.uk, 5/4).

Ferrari President Says Claims That F1 Cars Carry
Subliminal Tobacco Advertising Are Ridiculous
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