Philip Morris linked with Ferrari F1 Sponsorship

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Philip Morris linked with Ferrari F1 Sponsorship

Post by Dan »

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What should tobacco companies do with all those billions? What they used to do was sponsor sporting events, so that they helped people get fit and get some exercise, so they could better enjoy their cigs. Do you remember the Embassy World Snooker championship? The Benson and Hedges Cricket World Cup? The Silk Cut Le Mans endurance cars? And who could forget the classic Marlboro sponsorship in the 80's hey day of Formula One - on the McLaren cars of Senna and Prost. Not to mention rival companies prolific in Formula One, and other sports like MotoGP and Indy Cars. What happened to all of that 'tobacco money', as Eddie Jordan once said?

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Sadly, most of the famous cigarette brands have been taken over by global giants like JT Tobacco - who now own Silk Cut, Benson and Hedges, Gallagher, and many others. They dont go in for Western sporting events all that much. So that just leaves the North American brands like Phillip Morris. They decided to continue with their health and fitness culture of sponsoring events and participants under the name of Altria; the parent company of Phillip Morris, until they noticed nobody understood or remembered that name.
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In 2010, Phillip Morris approached Ferrari to advertise their brand as a barcode on the side of the vehicle. These were noticed and frowned upon, and so in 2011 they launched a new "Mission Winnow" programme, and approached Ferrari again to see if they would be interested. From 2011 until 2021, the logo has been on the car, and the drivers helmet and clothing.
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The drivers arent bothered too much either way, as they get paid a big salary to do their job, much of it coming from sponsorship deals. The drivers dont smoke, and have no intention of doing so. Maybe it was hoped this brand could be attached to these clean living icons as a mark of good sportsmanship from North America's leading brand? However, in 2020, the whistle was blown on the real identity of their title brand, and it is questionable whether the logo will remain for very much longer.

The oppositions main argument seems to be that this is subliminal advertising, and somehow shows the Marlboro logo? - If you fold the logo up in a certain way, and tilt your head to the side, and basically imagine somehow the M W resembles the 'up pointing arrow' or pyramid shape on a Marlboro cigarette package. One issue is Europe DOESNT HAVE this logo on its packs anymore, as they banned colours and logos on packs many years back. So their argument is that a few American, smoking, Formula One fans, will somehow notice this shape on the side of these cars as they go by at 200mph - and maybe smoke another cig? Its not like they weren't going to have another one anyway.
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If we say their argument is that a tobacco brand cant sponsor Formula One, then thats fine, as Philip Morris are primarily a vaping and chemical research company now, and the product they sell is nicotine, not tobacco. Nicotine is not a regulated substance, and not part of the tobacco ban. If this is still a problem for the F1 lawyers then at least remind them that Mission Winnow is a distinct charitable fund, which gets some of its funding from, but isn't accountable to, Phillip Morris.

At most this will result in a re-brand or new strategy for sporting and cultural events.
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In the meantime, the Heineken (a product known to destroy brain cells) 2020 Formula One season is about to start, and its my bet that the soul destroying dirty beer companies will be all over the signs and boards, on their 'Mission Wino', - leaving us relatively harmless smokers out in the cold once again. Its a shame, but at least one company is trying to put its spare cash into health and social events, and I say thats a good thing, and is more than most mega corps do!
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