Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2018

Ferrari sponsor denies link to tobacco promotion

2019 F1 season

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Ferrari’s title sponsor denies its Mission Winnow brand is being used for tobacco promotion despite its trademark containing multiple references to tobacco products.

Mission Winnow was launched last year by Ferrari’s sponsor Philip Morris International, which produces the Marlboro brand. The Mission Winnow logos appeared on the team’s cars at the last five rounds of 2018.

Tobacco advertising is banned in many countries. The Australian Communications and Media Authority began an investigation after the Mission Winnow logos first appeared on the Ferraris at last year’s Japanese Grand Prix, which was broadcast in Australia by Network Ten and Foxtel.

Australia’s Department of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria, where next month’s Australian Grand Prix will be held, have also begun their own investigations into where the PMI brand is being used to promote a tobacco product.

Mission Winnow’s European Union trademark for goods and services contains 19 references to tobacco including “tobacco, raw or manufactured; tobacco products, including cigars, cigarettes, cigarillos, tobacco for roll your own cigarettes” and more.

However when approached for comment by RaceFans, Philip Morris International’s director of global communications Tommaso Di Giovanni said “the registration you refer to was made for defensive purposes – something that is common practice in the field.

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“If we are to protect the integrity of Mission Winnow we must be able to prevent unscrupulous third parties from abusing the mission by applying the words or similar words to tobacco or other nicotine containing products.”

Ferrari Mission Winnow livery revealing, Suzuka, 2018
Ferrari revealed its Mission Winnow brand in Japan
Di Giovanni insisted the Mission Winnow brand “does not advertise or promote any PMI-branded products.”

“Instead, it highlights our and our partners’ commitment to strive for better in everything we do and to leverage science, technology and innovation to spark positive change.

“We are aware that there are ongoing discussions related to Mission Winnow in Australia and we are currently working with the Australian Grand Prix organizers to understand and respond to any concerns the authorities may have.

“Our Mission Winnow initiative, including the signage used on the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow livery and our Mission Winnow website, complies with the relevant laws that apply to our activities in Australia and the state of Victoria.”

Ferrari, which is officially entered for the 2019 F1 season as Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow, will reveal its new car on Friday next week.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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43 comments on “Ferrari sponsor denies link to tobacco promotion”

  1. There’s a white forward pointing arrow on the airbox (formed below the M and above the W).

    That’s a subtle reminder to Vettel which way his car needs to be pointing on the track. ;-)

    1. smart guy who printed it on the car; nose will always be in the right direction ;)

    2. @phylyp I don’t quite think you’ve thought this through.

  2. I have a strong suspicion that on the right hand side of the airbox is a similar arrow pointing backwards. Can we look forward this season to Seb frequently ending races in a spin?

    1. Sorry, it still points forward.

  3. hahaha Sure Marlboro, sure

    1. Sure, cowboy.

  4. … denote the absence of right angles. Sneaky and underhanded, nested in the mirage of Phillip Morris’s reflection of the two words, MISSION-WINNOW, every letter in the word, MARLBORO, is subliminally discerned, with exception to letter “L”.

  5. … it is by a sizable margin no one in the Milky Way Galaxy rivals the Phillip Morris conglomerate, on subliminal advertising.

  6. I totally see them being asked in court ‘Is Mission Winnow disguised tobacco advertising?’ and pulling a Mark Wahlberg from The Happening here:

    ‘what? nooo…’

  7. Why biased against tobacco but allow alcohol?

    1. Because one is illegal and the other isn’t.

      Don’t be dense.

        1. the law!

      1. That second sentence was unnecessary.

    2. There in NO benefit to smoking tobacco. It is a product designed to harm or kill. It causes cancer in humans. it is addictive. If it did not exist, it would be banned because it is a mass killer. Alcohol does not kill. You can drink moderately with no ill effects. There are benefits to moderate drinking.
      Smoking and consuming food/liquids are two different things. There is ONE use for lungs. That is to get oxygen into the blood. Blocking or reducing the efficiency is lunacy and leads to death.

      Advertising cancer causing products have been banned by most civilized societies. But for some reason (MONEY) the promotion continues in F1.

      1. There are no benefits to moderate drinking. Alcohol is poison at any dose. It destroys brain cells, liver cells and is poison for any other cell.
        Source: Science.

      2. But when it kills, alcohol kills.. others.

      3. Nonsense. You may not be aware that alcohol is considered as strong as heroin. Alcohol is one of the few drugs that can kill when stopped (delirium tremens) and is considered as the deadliest drug of them all.

  8. Ferrari’s title sponsor denies its Mission Winnow brand is being used for tobacco promotion

    Mission Winnow was launched last year by Ferrari’s sponsor Philip Morris International, which produces the Marlboro brand

    Hmmm… this is a tiny bit suspicious… But I’m still not sure…

  9. AS an editorial decision and to deny part of the effect of this fabricated controversy, I wish news about this suppressed the reference to the real names of the company and the product.

  10. Why apply a trademark to a design on something that it isn’t designed to promote? To stop others from outlining the clear connections it has with it’s Tobacco products?

    It’s so frustrating how blatant it is, and PMI seem to be hiding behind a legal loophole here as they’ve so strongly associated their brand and visual identity around a cigarette package.

    They’ll have to totally re-design their visual identity not to be taken in a contentious context.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      9th February 2019, 20:31

      Or like every other tobacco firm, follow the rules and don’t advertise….

    2. @scottie: Yes. And Ferrari keep taking the tobacco money. Is it still $200M per season?

      1. Thought it was $40M.

        1. @robbie: Got links?

          ESPN estimates it at $160M per year:

          1. @jimmi-cynic Fair enough. Way higher than I thought, obviously. Not the 200 you thought but still, big number.

          2. @jimmi-cynic No need to quote outside sources. In our year-end team budget review

            we wrote: Commercially, the team benefits from the largest slice of FOM revenues – pocketing 20 per cent of the ‘pot’ – with Shell and UPS complementing $100m provided by Philip Morris in exchange for its ‘Mission Winnow’ message and access to the team for promotional purposes. Licensing tops up the $410m budget.

            As the author of the analysis I can assure you the figure is accurate.

            It was never $200m either – not even in the days of ‘legal’ tobacco sponsorship, and declined since until it settled at around $100m about five years ago.

  11. It is promotion where a tobacco company advertises that in future its tobacco products might be less harmful because they put lots of money into tobacco research.

  12. petebaldwin (@)
    9th February 2019, 20:30

    It’s fine to say it’s not advertising tobacco but what is it advertising? What is the goal of this venture? I’d have assumed to promote Marlboro but if not, what are they spending money for?

    1. That’s so F1, so obvious but still legal and brought them as much legal tobacco exposure as they possibly wished for.

    2. Did you not read the article @petebaldwin?

      “…it highlights our and our partners’ commitment to strive for better in everything we do and to leverage science, technology and innovation to spark positive change.”

      There you go, all perfectly innocent.
      You’re welcome :)

      1. One could point out that “everything we do” is basically sell cigarettes… but that would be nitpicking ;)

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        9th February 2019, 23:11

        @john-h Sarcasm doesn’t work when it’s written so I can’t tell if you’re being serious or not…..

        1. Maybe it does if other people can tell… ;-)

        2. @petebaldwin
          I can confirm sarcasm.

          1. petebaldwin (@)
            10th February 2019, 21:16

            @john-h – The Internet has made me question things i previously wouldn’t have. :D

  13. Interestingly, in Australia branded cigarette packages (other than the name in standard font) are not allowed.

    Thus there is nothing subliminal about a red chevron.
    I rest my case, your honour.

  14. Regardless of the logo (that has a lot of cues to the Marlboro logo), this is Phillip Morris putting whatever in the car, so everyone knows its Phillip Morris doing it. They could’ve called anything they wanted, write it in whatever way they wanted, and it’d still be a tobacco company behind getting the press…

    Even the investigation is free publicity for them. Headlines around the globe going “Ferrari is using tobacco sponsorship illegally!” or whatever… the whole scheme is working just fine! Gosh, these people are clever…

    1. Than, while Ossies are looking to find something illegal, LM and FIA have to start prevent possible frauds and give , say, 5 grid penalty places both red cars. Every one satisfied.

  15. So damage limitation – pure denial BS? Good one PMI. This is hilarious.

  16. This reflects badly on the sport as a whole. Liberty could show some leadership and make a statement but I doubt they will. I would like to see overt messages promoting smoking cessation but obviously that’s wishful thinking.

Comments are closed.