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Ferrari sponsor explains surprise change to bright green logo

2021 F1 season

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Ferrari’s title sponsor has explained its change to a bright green logo which caused surprise when it appeared on the team’s car yesterday.

Mission Winnow, an initiative promoted by tobacco producer Philip Morris International, has been part of Ferrari’s livery since the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix. It has previously appeared in white and black colours.

However when Ferrari launched its new SF21 yesterday a large Mission Winnow logo on the car’s engine cover appeared in a new bright green hue. The significant departure from Ferrari’s past liveries was widely commented on.

Philip Morris International spokesperson Tommaso Di Giovanni said this anticipated reaction was part of the reason for the change.

“From the start, Mission Winnow has always experimented with its visual identity,” he said. “Much like a green screen does for film, the green arrow represents possibility and opens the opportunity to imagine new horizons.

“Regardless of opinions about the colour, sparking debate and creating dialogue is exactly what Mission Winnow is meant to do. We have consistently encouraged people to place their preconceptions about our company aside and to open their mind to the transformation we are going through.

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“More broadly, Mission Winnow focus on promoting [and] driving positive change, fostering engagement and opening conversations around the role that science, technology and innovation can play in helping to address a range of societal challenges – now and into the future.”

The presence of logos connected to tobacco producers on Formula 1 cars has prompted criticism. Italian consumer rights group Codacons, which last year called for Ferrari’s cars to be seized due to their promotion of Mission Winnow, said today the team “could and should have avoided” further associating themselves with the brand.

“We strongly contest Ferrari’s choice to resort once again to a sponsor directly linked to tobacco, despite the legal prohibitions and the serious health effects of smoking on human health,” the organisation added in a statement.

It remains to be seen whether the branding will appear on the car during a grand prix. Last year Ferrari did not run Mission Winnow logos at any race weekends – they appeared only during testing.

McLaren’s cars also feature the branding of a tobacco producer, British American Tobacco, which has sponsored the team since 2019.

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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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27 comments on “Ferrari sponsor explains surprise change to bright green logo”

  1. sparking debate and creating dialogue is exactly what Mission Winnow is meant to do” – Translated: Our data analysts estimated that a goblin-snot green was the precise colour required to trigger sufficient social media engagement to project the name “Mission Winnow”, and by extension, cigarettes, in front of thousands of fans through avenues which were previously unavailable to us due to pesky health laws. By demonstration of this very article, we have clearly succeeded.

      1. I’ve heard plenty of corporate codswallop and buzz phrases in my time. Di Giovanni’s statement above is a new entry, straight in at number 5…

  2. RaceFans why do you let yourself be used like this, devoting an article to Philip Morris and quoting their ridiculous nonsense statements. This is exactly what they hoped for. Just completely ignore this terrible company.

    1. Yes, it falls directly into the marketing ploy that is MW.
      I would be ok if the explanation were just: “this green hue makes easier for broadcasters to digitally remove the symbol. then we can rn the car with it and whoever does not want it can use a computer to remove it even on a live stream”.

    2. I’m not sure it does, Mission Winnow is such a non-entity that I don’t even see how they can be promoting tobacco. The brand doesn’t evoke anything, the marketing drivel says nothing, they are a brand of nothing. If I didn’t knew they weren’t associated with PMI, I would’ve thought they were a money laundering scheme. But not cigarrettes.

      1. @eljueta: MW exists only for the logo they can put on the car. It’s supposed to subliminally make you think of the M******o logo. PMI did this before with the barcode logos after tobacco sponsorship branding got banned.

        1. @tourneur I know what it’s supposed to do, just doesn’t seem to work at all at least for me. And that’s coming from someone who smoked for 15 years. The logo makes me think of bubblegum maybe.

  3. Imagine not only being the spokesperson for a company like Philip Morris but also having to say ‘[…] the green arrow represents possibility and opens the opportunity to imagine new horizons.’ What a new low.

  4. (Smart) marketing drivel.

  5. Over red should be said,
    green on top needs to seen,
    not best in the press,
    just bad, only sad.

  6. Shell posted pictures before the arrow. It really was a last minute thing.

    1. Like a surprise birthday party.

  7. Hahahaha. Thanks, reading that load of … has made my day, very amusing indeed.

  8. ““Regardless of opinions about the colour, sparking debate and creating dialogue is exactly what Mission Winnow is meant to do. We have consistently encouraged people to place their preconceptions about our company aside and to open their mind to the transformation we are going through.”

    Is that literal PR-guff for “we will make our liveries and logos horrible if it gets you lot talking”?

  9. I don’t know why, but somehow I feel like smoking a Marlboro Menthol now.

  10. And it’s worked exactly as they want. Well played

  11. Sad. Laws to remove all tobacco sponsorship shouldn’t be assumed to be a marketing challenge. It’s there because cigarettes killed, and continue to kill, millions of people. On car ads will all be gone by the time it comes to the EU of course, apart from the odd splash of colour here or there. I smoked PM products for 25 years, other brands for another 7. I thought it was cool. I was suckered in. Kick it out Ferrari – stupid association. Kids watch this sport and love the logos. Ditch it. No excuses

  12. I thought it was a giant Honda logo till I looked again and saw it was a cigarette company

  13. I am genuinely in awe of the masterpiece of corporate word salad barfed up by Mission Winnow. It truly requires enormous skill to construct that sort of volume of perfectly grammatical sentences filled with such soaring, inspirational prose that conveys absolutely no meaning whatsoever.

    1. +1
      Maybe Lewis should recruit them for his political pronouncements….

  14. His quotes remind me of instances during exams in high school where I really didn’t know what to answer so I kept writing “clever stuff” to make it sound like an interesting read while staying absolutely nothing of value…

    Also, those guys from Codacon saying Ferrari “could and should” avoid association with the brand. Do they even know how much Phillip Morris pay Ferrari????

    1. There’s about 80 million reasons Ferrari promote PMI…

  15. I thought the title was a bit click-baity, but after reading the explanation for the change, I have no idea how you would condense that into a brief title.

    Hopefully we wont be seeing that green thing on the cars in many races this year.

  16. mmm… menthol cigarettes.

  17. “the green arrow represents possibility and opens the opportunity to imagine new horizons.”

    Does the new horizon begin with either a C or a W?

  18. It is probably green because they are probably going into cannabis next, who isn’t?

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