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According to reports in the Times, the Ferrari Formula One team is coming under scrutiny for subliminal tobacco advertising on their cars and driver overalls in the form of a barcode, the Italian company managing to keep Marlboro advertising worth an estimated billion dollars, by associating the red white and black barcode with the cigarette giant rather than using the actual logo.
Tobacco advertising in sporting events has been banned by the EU for many years now but while many believe that the barcode is a form of branding.....
“The bar code looks like the bottom half of a packet of Marlboro cigarettes. I was stunned when I saw it. This is pushing at the limits. If you look at how the bar code has evolved over the last four years, it looks like creeping branding,” John Britton from the Royal College of Physicians and director of its tobacco advisory group was quoted as saying in the Times of London.
....Ferrari insist that they are not breaking any laws.....
“The bar code is part of the livery of the car, it is not part of a subliminal advertising campaign.”
“We are confident that our relationship with Ferrari does not violate the UK 2002 Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act,” added a spokesperson from Phillip Morris. “The Formula One Grand Prix in the UK does not involve any race cars, team apparel, equipment or track signage carrying tobacco product branding. The same is true for all other Formula One races across the world.”
Despite their claims there have been calls for an immediate government inquiry into the situation.
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