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Sunday, June 13, 2021

To get around the European Union’s ban on tobacco advertising, major Formula 1 sponsor Marlboro decided on a high-speed stealth presentation of its product colors:

In January, Ferrari presented the new Scuderia Marlboro F1 single-seater. (Ferrari is the only Formula One team with a tobacco brand in its formal title, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro.) At first glance the car is void of major sponsorship per the rules and has gone relatively unnoticed over the last four months. Now, however, 4 races into the year, the EU portion of the Formula One season is about to begin in Spain and the car’s livery is in the spotlight due to the team’s unique solution to the ban on advertising.

The livery (paint job) features a predominately red car with a number of associate sponsor logos: Shell Gasoline, Ferrari itself, Bridgestone and a few others. The most striking aspect of this design… is a red, black and white barcode-like design on the canopy of the vehicle, as well as on the uniforms of drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipa Massa. Up close it just looks like a cool aesthetic touch but from a distance (and possibly even more clearly when moving 200 mph) it appears to resemble the packaging of a certain cigarette manufacturer. Can you guess which one?

The barcode look is what’s prompting the “subliminal” charges (which is, historically, a recurring allegation against cigarette advertising). The digital-like design suggests some sinister neuro-marketing afoot. It’s primarily an optical-illusion presentation, if you want to split hairs — but definitely toward a subliminal placement of messaging.

So yes, it’s definitely sneaky. Also a sign that Marlboro and its parent company, Philip Morris, put a lot of stock in the brand’s red-white-and-black logo being recognizable enough to leave an impression in such an indirect presentation. They get credit for trying to loophole their way out of a tight situation.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/13/2010 06:52pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Creative, Other Sports
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