Philip Morris’s brand Marlboro has been Ferrari’s main sponsor since 1997, even extending their contract when tobacco advertising was banned, meaning the Marlboro logo could no longer appear on the Scuderia’s F1 cars.
But, there are now questions regarding whether their latest extension breaches EU laws that prohibit tobacco sponsorship.
Professor John Britton, chair of the RCP’s tobacco advisory group and director of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, believes it does.
“People are aware Ferrari is sponsored by Marlboro,” he told The Guardian newspaper, “and the positive assets of the Ferrari team – things like danger and manliness – all translate to the brand. Britton added that the real value of the deal rested with Ferrari’s colours of red, black and white, which bare a resemblance to the Malboro colours and therefore hold a “subliminal” link.
The newspaper also revealed that Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) and the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) had written to FIA President Jean Todt asking him to “investigate the deal.”
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Ash, believes Ferrari’s Malboro deal hands the Italian stable an “unfair advantage over other teams which no longer take tainted tobacco industry sponsorship.”