After months of controversy, Ferrari finally capitulated and removed the suspiciously placed barcode from its Scuderia Marlboro Formula 1 cars in Europe.
As most F1 fans know, Marlboro has been the Ferrari F1 racing team’s major sponsor for more than a decade, but due to the F1 ban on tobacco sponsorships, the global cigarette marketer hasn’t been able to emblazon its brand logo on the cars, driver and pit crew uniforms, programs and promotions, despite paying millions of dollars to underwrite the team. Seemingly abiding by the law, the Marlboro name and logo did not appear anywhere. However, lately in the prominent places where the lead sponsor’s name would normally go, there appeared a curious red, black and white barcode design – which “coincidentally” are Marlboro’s brand colors. Even more remarkable was the fact that when the Ferrari F1 car flew around the course at 200 mph, viewers saw a blur that created the sensation of actually seeing the Marlboro logo.