Ferrari’s title sponsor Mission Winnow are responding to reports of an investigation, initiated in Australia, questioning what the branding represents and indeed what the campaign is actually selling, as information on the official website is PR-speak that serves to confuse rather than enlighten.
Anti-smoking activists claim the branding is merely a smokescreen by Philip Morris International (PMI) to peddle their Marlboro cigarette brand through subliminal advertising.
PMI communications chief Tommaso Di Giovanni responded in an interview with Motorsport Italia, “We are aware of the debate on Mission Winnow in Australia and we are working with the local Grand Prix organizers to understand the concerns of the authorities and give them an answer.”
“Mission Winnow does not advertise or promote products or brands of products of our company. Rather, it is meant to talk about our commitment to improving ourselves in everything we do. Mission Winnow is a window towards the new Philip Morris International and our partners, towards our commitment and the incentives that drive us to improve and evolve. And to contribute to the progress of society.”
With regards to the branding being a cover for cigarette advertising, Di Giovanni said, “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.”
The saga has arisen as the Formula 1 season prepares for pre-season testing next week in Spain ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on 17 March.
Simple: Question: Should Mission Winnow branding be allowed on the Ferrari?