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1970s ban on tobacco advertising? (merged)


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#1 West3

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 08:28

I'd like to ask the collective brain trust to help answer a question. During the time period of 1972 to 1985 the British GP held at either Brands or Silverstone was known as the "John Player British Grand Prix" or the "Marlboro British Grand Prix". During that period, and particularly in the mid-to-late '70s, was there any sort of concurrent ban on tobacco advertising at those venues during the events? The cars obviously carried their various cigarette brandings, but what about team personnel? Were they for some reason not allowed to wear any clothing carrying tobacco branding, and if so, why not? I have seen a few postings in the "Personal Photos from the Paddock " thread which seem to support the presence of tobacco branding worn by all and sundry. This may seem a strange question but I am having an e-mail discussion with a gentleman who is quite adamant that there was such a ban, and would like to get a definitive answer.

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#2 D-Type

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 09:45

I think the ban related to what was seen on BBC TV. There was certainly a brouha about the John Player 'sailor's head' appearing on the cars but I think the objection was to a trade mark rather than to a tobacco advert. It was all a trifle biased as adverts around football and cricket grounds were apparently OK even a long lingering shot as a cricketer chased a ball to the boundary with its John Player or Benson and Hedges advert depending on which (sponsored) championship it was.

And of course there were objections to the 'Durex' sponsored Surtees - but this was probably a prudish objection to the product (condoms).

#3 jph

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 12:30

The argument put forward by the BBC for advertising banners and hoardings being acceptable, but branding on cars not being so, was that the cars were the centre of attention whereas banners etc (be they at cricket grounds or race circuits) were merely background. Spurious or what?

#4 ian senior

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 12:46

Originally posted by jph
The argument put forward by the BBC for advertising banners and hoardings being acceptable, but branding on cars not being so, was that the cars were the centre of attention whereas banners etc (be they at cricket grounds or race circuits) were merely background. Spurious or what?


Spurious indeed. You couldn't easily read the ads on a racing car that kept moving about, and was often at an angle to the camera, but you can't really avoid a static advertisng hoarding at a football or cricket match.

#5 RTH

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 12:49

Incredibly 30 + years on, with 360 people in Britain alone dying directly from smoking every day , more than 30 times as many as are killed on UK roads............we still today have 3 hours of continuous cigarette brand advertising on our screens every fortnight .

#6 ensign14

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 13:13

I definitely remember, when very young, seeing a documentary about Emerson Fittipaldi from his McLaren days, I think following him at the Monaco GP, and the pit crew's Marlboro shirts had big black taped rectangles covering the "Marlboro" on them.

#7 Mallory Dan

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 13:37

I don't object to Fag advertising as such (if people want to smoke thats up to them), but I do feel the effects of tobacco moneys have been largely detrimental to motor-racing. They've vastly inflated the costs of racing, and wealth of those at the very top, and I think most enthusiasts agree that the more costly it all gets, the less attractive is the sport itself.

#8 Paul Parker

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Posted 07 June 2005 - 22:42

The answer to the original question as to why there was a problem with cigarette advertising in motor racing on British TV (in actuality as already noted the BBC) is very simple.

The BBC, especially of that period regarded motor sport as an elitist activity and were resolutely hostile toward it. I still recall David Coleman, or was it Frank Bough, announcing on Grandstand after the televising of a race, "And now back to sport". It was and is a poltical culture that still holds sway within the BBC despite their many years of F1 coverage until ITV took over.

As for the observations that fag advertising and tobacco company involvement has driven up costs this is surely one of those chicken and egg situations. Without heavy duty sponsorship F1 would have sunk without trace long ago as there would have been no money to be earnt from the advertising for the broadcaster and therefore no TV coverage because it would far too expensive to televise motor sport without the commercial revenue. Even easy and cheap to televise ballgames have cigarette advertising including snooker.

Of course you could argue that other products would be preferable but only booze comes close in its marketing value and this is in some people's eyes just as morally reprehensible especially given the weekend behaviour of the average British moron. Despite the politician's weasel words and the nanny state moralising you should be aware that smoking costs the NHS (British taxpayer) 1.8 billion pounds sterling p.a. but earns HM Treasury 8.1 billion sterling p.a.

#9 HistoricMustang

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Posted 08 June 2005 - 09:45

Originally posted by Mallory Dan
I don't object to Fag advertising as such (if people want to smoke thats up to them), but I do feel the effects of tobacco moneys have been largely detrimental to motor-racing. They've vastly inflated the costs of racing, and wealth of those at the very top, and I think most enthusiasts agree that the more costly it all gets, the less attractive is the sport itself.


Very good point.

Kind of like Henry Kissinger telling the Saudi's to raise their price on a barrel of oil to buy a few jets.

Henry

#10 ensign14

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Posted 08 June 2005 - 10:57

If tobacco advertising had not been so constrained - it was banned on TV ages ago - there would not have been such concentration on sponsoring motor sport.

#11 roger_valentine

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Posted 02 September 2005 - 09:40

I've just been looking at the photos on this site: http://www.racingspo...7-18-photo.html
and noticed that one of the Alfa Romeos (Giacomelli) has Marlboro advertising, and the other (Andretti) doesn't. Any reason for this? My guess is that the Andretti photo may be of a (non-televised) practice session?

The McLaren photo also has Marlboro advertising, whereas Autocourse photos show both McLarens with the 'strobe stripe' livery. Practice again?

#12 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 September 2005 - 10:38

Originally posted by ensign14
If tobacco advertising had not been so constrained - it was banned on TV ages ago - there would not have been such concentration on sponsoring motor sport.


Exactly...

With the banning of television advertising, vast sums of tobacco income were released for other purposes. One use to which it was put was sporting sponsorships, trying to relate tobacco use to success in sport.

The other thing that happened was that tobacco companies became even wealthier and started buying mainstream businesses, particularly in the food and drink industries. From there it got absolutely filthy. The most corrupt tale of 20th century business. Well, maybe after insurance.

I recommend to everyone that they read Larry C White's book, The Tobacco Business.

#13 LittleChris

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Posted 04 September 2005 - 01:07

Originally posted by Paul Parker
I still recall David Coleman, or was it Frank Bough, announcing on Grandstand after the televising of a race, "And now back to sport". It was and is a poltical culture that still holds sway within the BBC despite their many years of F1 coverage until ITV took over.


Probably Coleman. I still remember turning on the TV that Saturday and being infuriated at the way he announced Villeneuves accident at Zolder with a smug look on his face as if he was glad of what had happened. Bloke was a crap, one dimensional commentator and an idiot.

#14 David Lawson

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Posted 05 September 2005 - 06:13

Originally posted by roger_valentine
The McLaren photo also has Marlboro advertising, whereas Autocourse photos show both McLarens with the 'strobe stripe' livery. Practice again?


It was usual for the teams at the British Grand Prix in the 70's and early 80's to have the full livery on the Friday practice day and remove the tobacco logos for the televised weekend sessions and race.

David

#15 lobsterboy

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 16:47

I am wondering if anyone can remember why James Hunts, Mclaren M23 was entered into the 1976 German Gran Prix without any Marlboro logos on it.

#16 RTH

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 17:00

2007 should be the first year in very nearly 40 that at last we will not see any cigarette advertising on a racing car on TV.

#17 doc knutsen

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 17:59

Originally posted by RTH
2007 should be the first year in very nearly 40 that at last we will not see any cigarette advertising on a racing car on TV.


And about time, too. Tobacco stinks, in more ways than one.

#18 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 18:11

Well, except you'll be seeing it on the Ferraris and Ducatis via Marlboro, and the Fortuna 250cc team.

Plus Gauloises was all over the Dakar Rally as per usual. Tobacco sponsorship isn't going away.

#19 Twin Window

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 19:23

I'm not 100% sure about this, but I believe that there's a chance that the Ferraris and Ducatis won't run anywhere with branding. As I understand it, the cars and bikes will only be seen branded (in images and/or with show machines) at duty free shopping areas in airports.

All of the Marlboro hospitality units are up for sale or already sold, and I've also heard that they aren't even going to be issuing press releases from the MotoGPs from now on. Not sure about F1.