US cigarette and tobacco company Philip Morris International has pledged to work with Ferrari to promote smoke-free products after confirming an extension of its long-running partnership with the Formula One motor-racing team.
Philip Morris began sponsoring Ferrari in the mid-1980s and its new multi-year deal will run until 2021.
The company said the new partnership would be exclusively focused on “advancing the cause of a smoke-free world”. The collaboration will result in Philip Morris and Ferrari promoting less harmful smoking alternatives.
Philip Morris’ chief executive, André Calantzopoulos, said: “We want to give the world’s 1.1 billion men and women who smoke the opportunity to make better and informed choices. We are committed to use all available resources, including our motorsports-related activities, to accelerate momentum around this revolutionary change for the benefit of people who smoke, public health and society at large. We deeply appreciate Scuderia Ferrari’s support in this cause.”
In a statement, Philip Morris added: “Creating global awareness of the opportunity presented by innovation, science and technology to achieve a smoke-free world is of paramount importance. In addition to PMI’s unwavering commitment to this goal, it is critical that governments, public health experts, the scientific community and civil society embrace the challenge and help put in place a sensible regulatory plan. The men and women who smoke and the people who care about them truly deserve this.
“Scuderia Ferrari is the perfect partner for this challenge, because it harnesses a pioneering spirit, technology and innovation in a relentless pursuit of great ambitions. Our plan does not envisage any product-specific communications. We expect to announce further details in the coming months.”
The partnership between Ferrari and Philip Morris is one of the most inconspicuous sponsorships in sport, with advertising laws dictating that the company has not displayed its Marlboro cigarette brand at an F1 race since 2007.
A European Union ban on tobacco advertising in the sport started in 2005. However, territories including China and Monaco allowed Ferrari to carry Marlboro branding until 2007.
Ferrari has since retained the red and white colour scheme synonymous with Marlboro in its team livery and corporate branding.