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Ferrari deny subliminal Marlboro advertising

Thu, 29 Apr 2010

The Ferrari F1 2010 - complete with a pack of Marlboros?

In the Nanny-State world in which we live sport is no longer allowed to take advantage of the bulging coffers of tobacco companies to boost their bottom line through advertising. At least in Europe. Which means that sport is financially poorer without any evidence that tobacco advertising encourages anyone to take up smoking. Perhaps – just perhaps – it encourages a change of brand, but that’s a highly dubious theory.

As an ex-smoker I can’t say I ever smoked Marlboros because Ferrari had it emblazoned on their cars, and nor did I consider JPS when I saw a Lotus, B&H when I watched cricket or Embassy when I switched on the snooker after a night out. But our Euro-Nanny guardians say we’re too gullible to allow tobacco companies to advertise and tough-luck if it hurts sport.

But other parts of the world would rather trust the judgement of their citizens, so tobacco advertising is still a big deal for sport. It is said that Marlboro could be worth up to $1 billion to Ferrari (over 10 years), even without exposure in Europe. So you can understand that Ferrari would be as helpful as possible to Marlboro. Would that include allowing subliminal advertising in Europe?

A jobsworth from the European Public Health Commission thinks so. He thinks the barcode logo that has appeared on Ferrari’s cars and livery this year represents a pack of Marlboros and as such is illegal. He is calling for Governments to investigate. Ferrari says that “The bar code is part of the livery of the car, it is not part of a subliminal advertising campaign.” Which they would.

Personally I’m all for car makers getting money back from tobacco companies as I don’t believe it makes a jot of difference to smoking habits. But then I’m all for people making their own choices. Unlike the jobsworth from the EU. Who has actually managed to make the entire world think of Marlboro every time they see this logo. Whatever Ferrari’s intentions.

Clever boy.

By Cars UK