ferrari to remove 'marlboro barcode' ferrari to remove 'marlboro barcode'
may 07, 2010

ferrari to remove 'marlboro barcode'

ferrari have agreed to remove the controversial ‘barcode’ livery from their formula one cars after long standing suggestions that it represented subliminal advertising for their cigarette sponsor marlboro. (under EU legislation it is an offense for a tobacco company to sponsor sporting events).

‘together with philip morris international we have decided to modify the livery of our cars starting with the barcelona grand prix. this decision was taken in order to remove all speculation concerning the so-called ‘barcode’ which was never intended to be associated to a tobacco brand. by this we want to put an end to this ridiculous story and concentrate on more important things than on such groundless allegations.’ ferrari statement

ferrari are the only F1 team are still sponsored by a tobacco company in fact they compete under the official name of ‘scuderia ferrari marlboro’. in 2005 philip morris, the maker of marlboro, extended its financial backing for the ferrari team until 2011, despite the ban on cigarette branding on cars racing in the european union. the contract is understood to be worth 1 billion USD over ten years. when the deal was agreed philip morris said ferraris would not carry marlboro branding where there was a ban.

2010 f1 ferrari with ‘bardcode’ – image

the tobacco advertising ban in formula one began back in the 1970s in germany and has since spread to other nations – as a result the  F1 teams have ended their ties with cigarette manufacturers. marlboro’s official logo last appeard on ferrari’s F1 cars in 2007 in places where tobbaco advertising was still permitted such as china and monaco – however since the start of the 2008 season various barcodes in the marlboro red, white and black have appeared in its place leading many observers to suggest that it was a form of subliminal advertising.

this year’s ‘barcode’ seems to bear the closest resemblance to the marlboro branding and has lead to numerous complaints and media coverage since the car and team kit was unveiled.

new ‘barcodeless’ 2010 ferrari – image

the design has also featured on the ‘ducati marlboro motoGP’ bikes.

more on this story over at the times, graphicology and reuters

  • Did they ever seriously think that they’d get away with this? I mean it’s so blatant… These companies just think they are above the law…

    Sterling Moss says:
  • @Sterling: please tell me you were being sarcastic.

    jho says:
  • Publicity stunt.

    yo says:
  • Philip Morris will be loving all the publicity generated by the so-called barcode. As for “subliminal” – are folks supposed to be able to “read” barcodes now? Ohh and Sterling, the barcode was not illegal. Well done PCWs d;-)

    Jetwax says:
  • @Jetwax, They took it off because it obviously is subliminal advertising. It’s nothing to do with barcodes is it… it’s an abstraction of the logo / pack design – it just looks like a barcode and that’s the easiest way to describe it. Quite creative you have to give them that – but still smacks of the underhand tactics associated with the Formula one and tobacco industries.

    @jho, No, I wasn’t being sarcastic, why would you think I was?

    Sterling says:
  • Ha ha! After this the white box on the new cars still will remind people of Marlboro now! Genius!

    Parp says:
  • Putting the issue of tobacco advertising aside…

    from an environmental and socially responsible perspective, both Philip Morris and Ferrari consistently exceed at elitist irresponsible behaviour. Both have been promoting, and living by a creed that pumps our lungs and planet full of carbon monoxide and other toxic chemical materials and cocktails, whilst seducing us with this “display”, their implied pinnacle of aspiration and achievement.

    k.g. says:
  • I honestly don’t see what the problem is. Philip Morris has paid money into ferarri which has been used to better the team. He should be able to put his barcode on the car. It’s like cigarettes are the reason behind all our problems in society. There are many worse things. Excuse me while I smoke a marlboro. They make me feel like a cowboy sterls.

    Ross Gordon says:
  • Ross, Philip Morris started a tobacconist company in 1847 in London so he’d hardly be alive today. Philip Morris is actually a company that sells a slow death. I can’t find a more immoral types of company than that which pushes it’s life impairing products onto the masses as a moral right/obligation. Go ahead suck your life away, if you want to prove a point.

    k.g. says:
  • Actually, i m also partial to lucky strike! Im sure phillip morris would approve! Im doing a charity bike ride the length of the uk at the end of the month. A hundred miles a day for ten days. For a homeless charity. How fit are/were you? Its not a critisism, just a point about myself. Im thinking about asking marlboro to donate. I like the irony. Excuse me while i go and buy some luckies! Incedentally, i notice burger king sponsor kobyiashi’s car. (not sure how you spell his name) Is that ironic?

    Ross lovelyredshoes gordon says:
  • Damn, I don’t smoke and never will, but I have to admire Marlboro’s strong brand identity!

    It’s amazing that I’m so familiar with a product I downright refuse to buy.

    Dan says:
  • It would be great to see many logos abstracted like this, to see which are most recognizable!

    Cheapseats says:
  • Ross I’d say a certain percentage of those homeless people your cycling for, might possibly value cigarettes over food and a good nights sleep, and have spent thousands on their addiction over their lifetime. This really is an example of Philip Morris’ lack of duty of care – upping the nicotine and whatever other addictive substances they use in their products to get people hooked, so they value them more than life itself.

    I think you’re being wastefully antagonistic and disrespectful to families that have lost loved ones from this addiction, I’m sure your family would value an extra 5 minutes of your lifetime, rather than you taking a tote on a fag.

    In reference to your cycling attempt – good luck with it and congratulations on donating to such a cause. However this type of distance is quite achievable with a couple of months training for most people, and your attempt is not a qualitative example of how cigarettes may or may not impair your quality of life. I can run 10km, swim 6km and ride 30km all in a day (that’s normal for me).

    Not that I endorse it, but if you really want to prove your point and please your Philip Morris if you choose to have them as a sponsor, why don’t you try cycling whilst smoking, that would be a true test of endurance! But also a true test of meaningless.

    k.g. says:
  • I saw a hipsterish girl smoking whilst cycling once, I was quite impressed. I won’t force you to smoke so it’d be great if everyone would stop trying to force me not to. kthx

    Dave says:
  • Good grief kg. Did it take that long to come up with that lame come back? Are you saying that some of the folk are on the streets due to tabs? What about booze? When was the last time you saw someone going mental cos they smoked 40 bensons? I cän just imagine them mugging a granny for a pack of golden virginia and some cigarette papers! Löl. R u for real? How long dors it take to do a triathlon one up from a sprint? 8 hrs? I hope not. And camping at the end of rach day will add to the challenge. At least ill be able to smoke cos ill be outside.
    As to actually getting sponsorship from a global company for my 100 mile a day cycle, i dont think they deal with such small fish. And i do like to smoke wile cycling. I pull in front of fast cars waiting at lights and spark up, then overtake everything as the next set of lights turn marlboro red. Lol.
    And why dont you start doing proper triathlons. Start smoking camel cigarettes, they’ll toughen you up a bit.
    Most homeless folk end up on the street through no fault of thier own. They loose a job, divorce because of it, wife gets house, no job, no house. You dont notice them because most arent alchoholic tabbers. They walk about, too proud to beg,too proud because theyve reached the bottom in society and are ashamed.
    Smoking cigarettes doesnt fackin matter! Theres no respect and tolerance. You are right on one thing though. Greed is the root of all evil. And philip morris did pay 1 billion to ferarri. Crumbs, is that a lot? Do you like f1? Why dont you start picking on burger king? Are fatties taxed? And should they be? Discuss kg.

    Ross tache gordon says:
  • You better not drink kg! And as for my wasteful antagonistic behaviour, well, how ironic. Smoking is my right. Now get some training in and do an olympic distance. I would but my knees are old and decrepit and can only manage 5 miles, then they stiffen up. I can ride all day though!

    Ross gordon says:
  • Ross,

    My “reply” wasn’t lame, it was written with much thought and sincerity, obviously you don’t have the humility to fully appreciate it and haven’t understood or comprehended my blog entry. Did you not read “a certain percentage” meaning not all homeless people, as I also did not attribute smoking to them being homeless, but merely that they’d wasted their quality of life, length of life and squandered their financial resources to pursue something that would eventually kill them.

    By the length of your “comeback”, it looks as though I’ve given you some of your life back, whilst your nimble yellow fingers pound away at the keystrokes giving your lungs a break. 1 for me – Philip Morris 0.

    All I can say is I pity you, as I’m sure the other readers of this post do in reasoning your motivations for an early grave. This comparative point scoring in relation to alcohol and fast-food to justify your habit are the worst signs of denial. Your body and your family will thank you one day for letting nicotine go and embracing what nature has given you.

    P.S. I have done Olympic distance triathlons. The distances I do for training each day are actually equivalent to or longer than an Olympic triathlon, except the cycle by 10km, but I’m sure the extra 4.5km in the pool makes up for this.

    k.g. says:
  • The swimming is indeed impressive. I could go on and on but I think I’ll bow out gracefully. We didn’t quite touch on the boozing fatties, they are as much to blame as the tabbers. It’s been nice talking to you kg, I wonder what that stands for? Hmmm, I’ll never know.
    It’s good that we can have this chat, shows people are still thinking. I’m not really an arse, just think you should be able to smoke. If you can’t understand I like smoking and it makes me happy to smoke, more fool you. You can respond to this “comeback” but it’s not one. And it’s my last one. You’re ok K.G. 2-0 2U

    Ross Gordon says:
  • can the abstracted logo really be considered subliminal if everyone already knows that the team is sponsored by Marlboro? If anything, the reaction to seeing the barcode on the car wouldn’t be “Hmm… I suddenly feel like supporting a Philip Morris product, but I don’t know why.” It would be, “Hey, look at what the Ferrari team did to the Marlboro logo to get around the EU’s tobacco sponsorship ban, what underhanded assholes.”

    jm says:
  • I’m against cigarette sponsorship but agree that if fast-food and alcohol can still be advertised then it’s hypocritical to ban smoking adverts.

    Smokers are overly persectuted at the moment – alcoholism and obesity and equally dangerous and cost more to treat/ reverse and yet no efforts are made to stop advertising products that induce them. Whilst cigarettes are clearly dangerous to others when passively smoked, alcohol is by far a more dangerous drug (drink drivers/ anti-social behaviour) and obesity is draining health services. If any two health issues need to be addressed, it’s these. There should be an end to the double standard in advertising – either ban all commercials that advertise products that could be detrimental to your health, or have no censorship

    As for the barcode, a clever way of subliminally advertising a brand, but looked hideous on the car. Hopefully they’ll design a nicer looking car next year.

    courtney says:
  • There is nothing new about the subliminal adverts. F1 teams have have done this since 1996:

    Rothmans Williams – barcode
    Winfeild Williams – kangaroo/barcode
    Marlboro Ferrari – barcode
    Benson Hedges Jordan – Clever name changes ie, Bitten Hissen
    Marlboro Mclaren – barcode
    West Mclaren – type set drivers names in the West font ie, David, Mika, Kimi, Juan.
    555/ Lucky Strike Honda – all of the above.

    url=http://jonharney.com/blog] MY BLOG [/url]

    jon harney says:
  • k.g. left drugs. He just doesn’t know where…

    mdl says:

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