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Oh Ferrari, you certainly do amuse me!

May 7, 2010 Leave a comment

About a week or two ago, international doctors started making a stink about the barcode on the side of the Ferraris.

They wanted clarification on what the image represented, and an investigation to determine whether or not the barcode was a form of subliminal advertising for Marlboro cigarettes was also suggested. Ferrari was not pleased with this, and here is what they had to say.

Today and in recent weeks, articles have been published relating to the partnership contract between Scuderia Ferrari and Philip Morris International, questioning its legality.

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.

The so-called barcode is an integral part of the livery of the car and of all images coordinated by the Scuderia, as can be seen from the fact it is modified every year and, occasionally even during the season. Furthermore, if it was a case of advertising branding, Philip Morris would have to own a legal copyright on it.

The partnership between Ferrari and Philip Morris is now only exploited in certain initiatives, such as factory visits, meetings with the drivers, merchandising products, all carried out fully within the laws of the various countries where these activities take place. There has been no logo or branding on the race cars since 2007, even in countries where local laws would still have permitted it.

The premise that simply looking at a red Ferrari can be a more effective means of publicity than a cigarette advertisement seems incredible: how should one assess the choice made by other Formula 1 teams to race a car with a predominantly red livery or to link the image of a driver to a sports car of the same colour? Maybe these companies also want to advertise smoking!

It should be pointed out that red has been the recognised colour for Italian racing cars since the very beginning of motor sport, at the start of the twentieth century: if there is an immediate association to be made, it is with our company rather than with our partner.

To those unfamiliar with this situation, Ferrari may have a good argument. However…

“The so-called barcode is an integral part of the livery of the car and of all images coordinated by the Scuderia, as can be seen from the fact it is modified every year and, occasionally even during the season. Furthermore, if it was a case of advertising branding, Philip Morris would have to own a legal copyright on it.”

Ferrari is saying that the barcode is a Ferrari design, then. That it is their own creation, a Ferrari invention. Alright, then would they care to explain what I am looking at on the Moto GP Ducati bike?

Now why would a design by Ferrari appear on a Ducati bike? In the same location where Ducati used to have Marlboro logos displayed? Hmm, very interesting!

According to Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, this entire situation is “verging on ridiculous” and he heavily insists that red is a Ferrari colour. Yes Luca, it is. However, people are not questioning the colour of the Ferrari, or the red that surrounds and fills this peculiar barcode design. It is that very design itself that people are curious about, as it appears on all Marlboro sponsored bikes and cars that are not permitted to display cigarette brand icons, logos, and names.

You would have to be dense as a brick to not realize that the barcode is a Philip Morris invention and is used to exclusively represent Marlboro. While it’s kind of hard to look at the barcode and see cigarette advertising, it’s impossible to ignore what the barcode really is once you know that it is the mark of a cigarette company.

Despite Ferrari’s stance, they decided to remove the barcode yesterday.

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 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.

So now they actually admit that the barcode is Philip Morris’ doing, but they say that it has nothing to do with advertising cigarettes? Make up your minds, Ferrari.

So, what did they replace the barcode with? It’s funny, actually.

The image speaks for itself, doesn’t it? I don’t think I need to say anything! Just wow, Ferrari. Wow. All one has to do is look at a Ferrari livery from approximately ten years ago to realize that this is a massive step back.

I have a feeling that this isn’t over yet . Not by a long shot.

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