Subliminal advertising from Marlboro via F1 barcode?

barcode f1

Look at the top of that Ferrari F1 car. Yeah, that barcode. Got a sudden urge to smoke a load of tabs? Thought not.

However, there's been a lot of speculation about this mysterious barcode as people have suggested that Ferrari have been hosting a subliminal advert for Marlboro. Of course, seeing as tobacco advertising is banned in the sport, this is rather odd.

While everyone pointed and said "Oi! That's Marlboro that is!", Ferrari consistently refuted the claim time and time again.

However, Ferrari has now given in and decided to remove the barcode image from its team livery.

The European Public Health Commissioner has claimed that the red, white and black barcode was designed to look like a packet of Marlboro cigarettes, leaving the crackpot Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo to spit that such a notion was "pointless and verging on the ridiculous".

Now, a Ferrari spokesman is saying: "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."

Hang on.

'Together with Philip Morris...', the company that own Marlboro... they've decided to remove a barcode that had apparently got nothing to do with them in the first place? It's so confusing that I need a smoke...



  • zacspeed
    Bunch of fags!
  • Gray P.
    Howe did they refute it then? Or did they just deny it?
  • Klingelton
    smoke. smoke.. smoke....
  • bushbrother
    Are ya smokin' yet?
  • Laurz
    One important detail missing from this article is that the Ferrari F1 team IS sponsored by Marlboro and that they freely admit that. The team is actually called Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro and they are the only team in formula 1 to be sponsored by a tobacco company. This is why Philip Morris International have been involved with the decision to remove it, because it WAS his advertisement on the side of the car and both he and Ferrari admitted it was, he just claimed it was a pretty barcode and not supposed to look like a packet of Marlboro cigarettes
  • Scarborian
    Also, Philip Morris own the rights for sponsor logos for the whole car, and sub-let to others, whist retaining the engine cover for themselves. However, thsi is due to end at the end of next season, then we'll see how much it was about "livery" when a bloody great sponsor logo appears on it... I might be wrong, but I think in Asia packs of Marlboro still have pictures of F1 cars on the packaging. I know they used to do. Finally, from the pictures of practice I saw this morning, the barcode is still on team outfits and the drivers helmets...
  • Issac M.
    Laurz 1, Mof Nil
  • Fritzel
    they still have the barcodes on the driver overalls and mechanic overalls so seems a bit pointless lol
  • andy y.
  • Paulo M.
    Poor journalism.
  • Laurz
    @Scarborian - I believe that they will still be on the outfits and helmets at the moment because new helmets and new uniforms would need to be ordered without the sponsor on them, removing it from the car is much easier as it is just a sticker.
  • Marlboro M.
    Aren't they allowed tobbacco sponsoring for one race of the season? I'm sure I heard that, could have been Moto GP though. But the resemblence between the barcode and a box of marlboro is uncanny, especially with the barcode on the back of the packet.
  • Laurz
    @Marlboro Man - Tobacco sponsorship is allowed in formula one outside Europe but all teams except Ferrari have dropped it. Until a couple of years ago Ferrari advertised Marlboro outside of europe and blanked the advert out in European races. They realised this didnt work very well as most races are in Europe and thats why they changed to the barcode instead as it isn't officially advertising tobacco and so is allowed both in and out of Europe
  • Brian
    Hi my name is Brian. Reading this BitterWallet article about Marlboro Man reminds me of Cowboys, then Brokeback Mountain, rude activities on the mountain and in tents and FAGS...sounds a bit adult rated material to me.
  • Jack
    :( such a shame, end of an era in F1. Ferrari were the bad boys holding out on tobacco advertising. It brought a lot of cash to the sport. I don't see how this encourages people to smoke, it only offers alternative brands to smokers. The issue of advertising out of Europe was a bit iffy, as say you could watch it on TV in the UK, it was showing the advertising (e.g. I think Asian races in 2008). Shame bye bye Marlboro, in the bin along with the rest of them.
  • andy y.
    Kleenex sponsors the Olympics but it never made me start wanking
  • Alan S.
    Ferrari are a bunch of cheating, whinging cunts anyway. Fuck you Luca, you shitpipe
  • hippy
    i keep looking and i dont see it. Am i missing something?
  • Maria
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  • Glory
    Fantastic website. A lot of helpful information here. I am sending it to a few pals ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thank you to your sweat!

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