• May 8, 2010
Following more than a week of controversy regarding its livery, Ferrari has capitulated for this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix. For more than a decade, the Ferrari Formula One team has been sponsored by Marlboro cigarettes. Ever since tobacco sponsorship was banned from F1, however, traditional Marlboro branding has been absent from the Italian cars.

In recent weeks, though, accusations flew, alleging that the replacement "bar code" logo adorning the Ferraris' engine covers was merely a subliminal reference to the tobacco brand. After Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo insisted just days ago that the "argument was pointless," the cars appeared in Barcelona devoid of the controversial livery. Instead, the cars now have a simple red rectangle wear the bar code once was.

[Source: Ferrari]
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Change of livery

Montmelò, 6th May - 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 "bar code" which was never intended to be a reference 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.


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  • 43 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      F1 was much better with tobacco sponsorship, the money was always there so no expense was spared to get the best performance and hence entertainment.

      Does seeing the likes of Marlboro, JPS, Slikcut, Benson and Hedges, Gauloises, Rothmans and Lucky Strike on the F1 cars make people want to smoke?, I doubt it. It's a personal choice that most make on their own far away from F1.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Smoking is a personal choice. Hell, I used to work in sales for Philip Morris and I'm a non-smoker. I didn't feel the need to light up a Marlboro because I was literally surrounded by promotional material every day.
        I would venture a guess and say that advertising plays a small part in influencing a non-smoker to cross that line, no matter what any government wonk thinks... whereas I would think it would be more environment and peer pressure that would convert a young non-smoker.
        We're human and we, unlike the rest of the animal kingdom, are gifted with the power of reason and free will. What you do with it is your business.
        I'm a non-smoker. That doesn't mean I'm anti-smoking. Just don't blow your smoke in my face and we'll get along fine.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If the advertising has no impact, that would make it a rather stupid investment on the part of those companies, no?

        Like most others, I can abide the self-destruction chosen by smokers. What's particularly galling, though, is the near-universal instinct to litter the butts, no matter how close the person is to a trash can or ashtray.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sounds like Ferrari just got sick of dealing with it.

      "We'll make the logo the face of a baby if they want us to, anything so we can get back to focusing on actually BUILDING RACECARS and not this crap!"
      • 4 Years Ago
      Funny. The bar code idea is actually pretty damn clever. But putting a red box in place of the barcode doesn't change anything. As long as people know why the red box is there, the message is still subliminal. Red is Marlboro's signature color. As long as there's a white outline calling that out, there's no change here. Marlboro's marketing team probably thought "OK, we'll just turn the cig pack upside down subliminally."

      I'm no fan of smoking, but is this really that big a deal?
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Instead, the cars now have a simple red rectangle WEAR the bar code once was."

      I think you mean "where," like this:

      Instead, the cars now have a simple red rectangle WHERE the bar code once was.

        • 4 Years Ago
        to Nick, No.
        the editor title is evidently a misnomer. MS is the only editor on staff and it only catches spelling errors, but not always.

        Our school systems at their finest, or maybe it's a sign of the overall apathy of the staff.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Almost every single Autoblog piece of news has errors in it. Do they even proofread their own text?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Haha. I was just about to type the same thing.
      • 4 Years Ago
      C O M M U N I S T S !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        You keep using this word, but I do not think it means what you think it means.
      • 4 Years Ago
      In support of Ferrari, I am now going to take up smoking - and I am 43 years old...........
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ferrari has been running with the "Bar Code" for a couple of seasons now and all of a sudden theres pressure to remove it?

      Personally, I definitely thought it was Ferrari exposing a loophole in the agreement.
      I think the bigger problem is Ferrari is still sponsored by a tobacco company where every team has moved on.

      I do miss the days of the tobacco sponsorship on the car as a graphic detail.
      The cars looked more iconic, colorful and creative(B&H Jordan)
      • 4 Years Ago
      Haha. I think it looks more like a Marlboro box. "Hey kids, Smoke Marlboro Reds instead!"
      • 4 Years Ago
      Instead, the cars now have a simple red rectangle wear the bar code once was.
      Instead, the cars now have a simple red rectangle where the bar code once was.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't think subliminal means what you guys or the anti-barcode set think it means.

      Regardless, now this white rectangle with 'subliminally' refer to smoking. And I agree with the other posters, that the free press will be a win for Marlboro.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The new version looks even more like a Marlboro package. Good going FIA.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Maybe someone could help me out. I'm having a hard time making the connection between a barcode and Marlboros (maybe because they don't sell them where I live, and I don't see advertising for them). Did the company use barcodes as a symbol in an ad campaign at some point? It seems odd, being that every product has a barcode... lol

      And what about Honda using Lucky Strike for awhile? That wasn't that long ago. I guess that was before the ban?

      Thanks!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thanks so much RCook. I did what you said, and I can see exactly what you're talking about. Very helpful :)
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