Thursday, March 15, 2012
In The Red
Take a good, long look at the picture above. It's an advertisement from the current issue of Road & Track. Notice anything automotive related? Hit the jump to read my conspiracy theories.
If you're a keen observer of F1 or supercars, the symbol on top of the roulette wheel and on the pack of Newports looks very similar to the logo of an F1 stalwart who recently released a supercar by the moniker of MP4-12C. Yes, it looks like Newport ripped off the McLaren logo... unless they have permission to use it. Don't believe me? Have a look for yourself.
If Newport does have licensing rights to use the McLaren logo, what's the big deal? The followers of F1 may be yelling at their monitors right now but I'll elaborate for everyone else. Formula 1, as is the case with all forms of racing, provides a moving billboard on which companies may advertise their wares. Take a quick look at the F1 grid and you can easily spot Vodafone, Santander, Red Bull, and Johnnie Walker. This is just scratching the surface of team sponsorship. Glance over at Ferrari and you'll see a few small sponsors overshadowed by a large bar code. That bar code has become synonymous with Marlboro cigarettes but for nearly a decade tobacco companies have not been allowed to advertise in F1 for the most part.
What's the point of advertising and not being able to even see your own logo on the car? As a long time sponsor for Ferrari as well as numerous past championship winning teams, Marlboro has an almost subconscious connection with F1. When fans of the sport think "Ferrari," brains automatically make a connection with Marlboro.
Getting back to the advertisement that started this whole post, I theorize that McLaren and Newport may have some sort of partnership in the works. While McLaren isn't allowed to throw Newport on their car, there's no law that I know of that says cars can't be advertised on tobacco products. The most confusing thing about this whole situation is that a press release can't be found and Newport is using McLaren's longtime rival's color of choice.
Is this all coincidence? Do I think about racing too much? Should I get out and enjoy the weather more? Am I just blowing smoke?