Lucky Strike to follow Mild Seven, Marlboro to stay

Gary Carey, head of sponsorship for British American Tobacco, has confirmed to, that Lucky Strike will definitely exit the sport at the end of 2006, but says Marlboro could remain as Ferrari's sponsor.

Autosport: Having sold your remaining 55% shareholding (in BAR) to Honda, BAT have obviously exited Formula One from an ownership situation. But what about Lucky Strike? Is the brand looking to exit Formula One?

Carey: "Yes."

Autosport: That's definite?

Carey: "That's definite. I mean, the reason for that is that we signed up to the International Marketing Standards (in September 2001), which is a self-regulatory agreement between ourselves and Philip Morris (Marlboro) and the other tobacco companies, in which we all agreed to pull out of all motorsports sponsorships by the end of 2006.

"The agreement is a means of regulating our industry, our own code of conduct. There are many, many different areas where we can continue in sponsorship outside of motorsport, but by continuing with Ferrari, Philip Morris have obviously decided to tear up the agreement. It is within their rights to do so; they are not breaking the law.

"We have decided to market to adults in other ways, communicating with our customers in more targeted ways, depending upon what countries they are in, and what the local laws are. I think the most important thing is that we will always respect local laws, even where others don't. That is why we are not branded here in Spain."

[Editor's Note: Rest assured that if Marlboro remains in motorsports beyond 2006 after originally announcing their withdrawal along with the other tobacco giants, it will result in numerous lawsuits against the company worldwide, especially in Europe where the EU has strong laws against any form of tobacco branding in sports.

The European Union is threatening legal action against member states that try to bend the rules and the World Health Organization (WHO) treaty now has 127 countries that are party to the deal. A further 47 are signatories but have not yet ratified the treaty. These include the United States of America, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, the Czech Republic, Argentina and the Ukraine.

If the USA does not ratify the treaty that may leave a loophole for Marlboro to remain as a sponsor on the Penske IRL team as well. If the USA ratifies it between now and 2007, the Marlboro sponsorship for the Penske IRL team will be history. WHO is putting a lot of pressure on the USA to ratify it, and we expect this issue will become a political hot potato in 2006 as Altria, Marlboro's parent company, will line the pockets of many a politician to ensure the USA doesn't ratify it so they can continue to kill many people with their cancer-causing product.

We applaud NASCAR for ridding its sport of this disgusting product by not keeping Winston as its series sponsor, a deal that was very lucrative to NASCAR. NASCAR took the high road, but if rumors can be believed, Marlboro and Team Penske will continue with the Marlboro branding even though it has been proven beyond a shadow of any doubt their product kills. Some people will do anything for money.]

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