The Billion Dollar Inference

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Marlboro Logo Ferrari
Marlboro has decided to use only the barcode logo on the Ferrari.

Color me reactionary but Altria’s (who owns Philip Morris who owns Marlboro brands) sponsorship deal ends in 2011; they will have spent a rumored $1,000,000,000 on their support of Ferrari and for the last furlong of their support, no one will even read their name on the car.

When asked to spend $300.00 (around 158 pounds to your fine folks in the UK…or do I say quid if it’s under 1000?) to support a golf charity event, I like to have my company name on the sign next the hole I am sponsoring but if I spent a billion dollars, I am thinking I would want my name tattooed on the drivers as well as painted on the cars.

This isn’t chump change for anyone and in the mad dash to save the world from tobacco (you draw the moral conclusion of your own liking) we have relegated Marlboro to using a barcode and inferring that we should think about their brand of tobacco. A sort of ‘buy more popcorn’ frame inserted in a movie at the cinema. After watching the Ferrari circle 70 times, I guess I am supposed to subliminally want to have a smoke break by looking at the barcode.

So what conclusion can we draw from this move?

A. logos don’t really matter much in F1

B. Marlboro is so massive in scope that they could put a white dot on the car and everyone would chain-smoke. Sort of like Prince changing his name to a symbol but more genteel and less eye-liner

C. The barcode has become synonymous with Marlboro and thus, people have been keyed in to the brand by association, frequency and reach.

D. Everyone wants popcorn around lap 30


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