The red, white, and black barcode on Ferrari Formula One race cars and uniforms is subliminal tobacco advertising, some European health professionals charge, but Ferrari rejected the claim, CNN reported May 4.
The design resembles the lower half of a pack of Marlboro cigarettes, said John Britton, a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. Phillip Morris, the owner of Marlboro, has long sponsored Ferrari. However, the bar code is not scannable as a Marlboro product or any other product, experts say.
Tobacco advertising in Formula One was banned in 2005, but Philip Morris still funds the Ferrari team.
Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo said it was “verging on the ridiculous to claim that the color red or a graphic design which shows a bar code could induce people to smoke … so-called experts are wracking their brains to come up with theories that have no scientific basis.”