Australia investigating Ferrari’s “M” logo

Reading an article over at Autosport about Ferrari’s Mission Winnow logo and the Australian authorities who are investigating it, I am somewhat stumped as to how the issue is defined and worthy of investigation.

Australia’s Department of Health and Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Service are investigating the current logo on Ferrari’s car. The accusations seem to be that the Mission Winnow logo is too close to the Marlboro white and red chevron and thus, acting as tobacco sponsorship which was banned by the EU years ago.

I’m not sure I see the direct correlation here but I have read the Mission Winnow program and I understand it to be a drastic change in paradigm for the Philip Morris company. The goal is to veer away from tobacco and into new technologies that redefine the company and what it engages in. The article quotes Philip Morris International Director of Global Communication Tommaso di Giovanni:

“The initiative and the symbols and logos used on the livery of the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow and the website comply with the laws that apply to our activities in Australia and the State of Victoria,” said di Giovanni.

“We are aware of the debate on Mission Winnow in Australia and we are working with the organisers of the local grand prix to understand the concerns of the authorities and give them an answer.

“Mission Winnow does not advertise or promote our company’s products or product brands. Rather, it is designed to talk about our commitment to improving ourselves in everything we do.

“Mission Winnow is a window to the new Philip Morris International and our partners, to our commitment and the stimuli that drive us to improve and evolve. And to contribute to the progress of society.”

I’ve read the Mission Winnow website and to be honest, I found it rather compelling and an interesting read about how a company that finds its products and legacy as real bottleneck and are seeking to overhaul the entire company and re-allocate its resources into something new…even, ANYTHING new. Whether technology, food…whatever. It is looking from within to find employees with ideas and engaging in ideation processes that would lead the company to new industries and products.

That’s not how Melbourne surgeon and anti-smoking campaigner John Cunningham. No, it seems he sees this as a nefarious plan to discover ways to get more people addicted to tobacco products as Autosport dug up from The Age:

“This website actually makes it much clearer what they are trying to achieve, and what sort of business they are in,” Dr Cunningham said.

“It has nothing to do with F1 cars, that’s for sure.

“Tobacco companies are finally admitting that their only means of financial survival is to get people addicted to nicotine, and they’re going to pour money into researching how to do that most effectively — not for the benefit of their addicted customers, but for the benefit of their profits and shareholders.”

To be fair to both sides, perhaps the doctor knows something I don’t, which is entirely possible given I’m not a doctor or involved in the anti-smoking movement. Maybe he has seen behind the corporate veil and knows of dastardly plans that really indicate Mission Winnows real goals.

On the other hand, I’ve read their mission statement and it seems to suggest that has nothing to do with tobacco and all to do with finding new industries, innovation and possible markets for products they could create be it technology or other life sciences or food products etc. Maybe I’m wrong but that’s what took away from it.

I found it all rathe interesting because being a large company, it is difficult when your main revenue stream is waning and you have to decide in which direction your resources will be aimed. I was intrigued and I’ve been watching to see what they will get in to next. Apparently John feels they’ll just get into new ways to make us addicted to cigarettes. I’m not so sure about that but again, I may be wrong.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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I have seen the Marlboro logo ever since I was a kid of around 5 years old. The Mission Winnow logo doesn’t even come close. This is more of a case of someone having an itchy trigger finger willing to pull the trigger at even the slightest hint of offense, whether it was true or not. That person needs some decaf, pronto.


Mission Winnow’s purpose is to make you think about Phillip Morris International without mentioning tobacco.

The question is, what is Phillip Morris’ primary source of income, if not tobacco products?


Agreed, as long as Phillip Morris is a known tobacco firm, they will always be subconsciously linked to it no matter what they try. But a hat tip to the effort!

Alianora La Canta

My understanding of it is that because Marlboro still sells cigarettes, its associated companies are potentially deemed to be under the web of anti-tobacco promotion for Australian legal purposes – even if that wasn’t the intent of the organisation.

Many other countries are less strict, but in Australia, the only sure way to not be under tobacco legislation is to not sell tobacco.


If smoking is so awful, why isn’t it just banned by world governments? Oh that’s right, they like the tax money. So the Australian government’s department of health can go suck it, cause the hypocrisy here is hilarious,

The Captain

Did we loose our Disqus comment accounts with the new web design?

The Captain

I guess I’m confused since I don’t even see an option to log in with Disqus? There is a twitter and WordPress options and that’s it. I’m commenting now just by manually entering an email and name, letting my autofill form the browser keep that info stored and filling out a captcha, but that’s not the ‘Disqus’ authentication? I’m not complaining, if we’re dropping Disqus cool, I can switch to WordPress (but would I loose my nam?). It’s just before I used a dedicated Disqus account for this site and wasn’t sure if I needed to do that anymore. The… Read more »


That description of what Mission Winnow does sounds like a hole lot of corporate double speak to me. Until they actually start putting something out I am a bit sceptical as to what they actually do. As for the logo, I wonder if on the car it looks a bit different. There was talk that Ferrari’s red and white colour scheme looked like the Marlboro logo, when the cars were going at a bit of a clip, and it was done intentionally. I could see how that could be the case with the Mission Winnow logo, depending on how it… Read more »