Ferrari, Marlboro: What’s Behind That Barcode

Keep wondering why a Barcode has replaced the Marlboro logo on Ferrari cars and the track suits of racers? Well, there is a lot going on behind this change.

In September 2005, Ferrari signed an extension of their sponsorship with Marlboro until 2011. This happened at the time when tobacco sponsorship and advertisements became illegal in many countries.

When team Marlboro noticed about the “tobacco advertisement and sponsorship ban” and the fact that they can’t advertise under the sponsorship programs anymore, they dropped their on-car branding on Ferrari. Nevertheless, they very soon came up with a subliminal marketing strategy and changed Marlboro’s logo to the one that has a white background with red rectangles in the foreground (represents a barcode sign).

Ferrari Marlboro Logo

Previous Marlboro logo on Ferrari

Ferrari Marlboro Logo

Current Marlboro barcode on Ferrari

Where many other tobacco companies stepped back because of the tobacco advertisement and sponsorship ban, Marlboro decided not to back down. They made a quick maneuver which allowed them to continue their successful streak under the highly expensive subliminal- sponsorship campaign contract with the Ferrari. It is really important here to mention that Philip Morris International Inc., manufacturer of the Marlboro cigarette brand is paying Ferrari between $100 million and $130 million in sponsor cost.

Ferrari Marlboro Logo

Marlboro decals on racing bikes and cars were one of the most popular decal kits that were available. These days Marlboro also sponsoring the Ducati MotoGP team for whom Casey Stoner (the famous bike racer) rides for, (also branded with the Marlboro “barcode”).

There are two sides of Marlboro’s subliminal marketing strategy;

First; it’s a great marketing tactic that allowed Marlboro to continue their advertising campaign to generate more business, unlike other tobacco companies who dropped their weapons after the tobacco advertisement and sponsorship got banned.

Second; Governments put a ban on smoking advertisings because smoking cause bad affects on the mental and physical health of a smoker on an extreme level, and it is also harmful to those who are close to a smoker in the same extent. As a result, the law-breaking act of tobacco advertisement and sponsorship ban is a miserable act by Marlboro, because if a state has set a law or a rule everyone should abide by its principles. Not like Marlboro who still tries to invoke more people to smoke.

These are the two sides of Marlboro’s subliminal marketing strategy. One is positive, the other is extreme negative. Which side do you think is weightier?

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