2006 was an important year in the world of automobile racing. Thirteen years ago, tobacco advertising was banned on all racetracks, and vehicles could no longer sport tobacco sponsor logos. The price to pay was huge for teams that were already struggling to make ends meet, but Big Tobacco has figured out a way to get around the law and make its way back to the biggest racetracks …
Philip Morris was the first to try out this new strategy at a Grand Prix event in Japan last October. Formula 1 cars as well as the entire Scuderia staff wore the “Mission Winnow” emblem during the event. The stated goal of Philip Morris’ educational program was (and is) to inform the public about the latest advances in the company’s various technologies. Obviously, part of the campaign is about advertising its newest products, like IQOS …
British American Tobacco (BAT) was inspired by Philip Morris’ initiative, and has just announced a partnership with McClaren via the “A Better Tomorrow” slogan. The stated goal of this partnership with the car company is to promote alternatives to tobacco, like electronic cigarettes.
A potential case of hidden advertising
Some countries are starting to worry that tobacco manufacturers are secretly advertising their products on the world’s racetracks. It must be noted, however, that the emblems and logos designed to promote these various campaigns do not bear any resemblance to the tobacco brands.
Ever since the first anti-tobacco campaigns were launched, tobacco manufacturers have been trying to get around the law. In Australia, the next Grand Prix event is set to take place on March 17, 2019, and the health department has already launched an investigation into “Mission Winnow” to make sure that it is a legitimate sponsor of Philip Morris.
For its part, the FIA (International Automobile Federation) is keeping a close eye on the world’s racetracks. The FIA’s main goal is to make sure that the laws are correctly applied lest a tobacco manufacturer get away with advertising or sponsoring its products.