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'Black Death' sponsorship - Pacific GP 1994


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#1 Louis Mr. F1

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 14:01

Hi all
during the black weekend in Imola 94, the little funded Pacific Grand Prix was actually set to introduce a new cigarette sponsorship, it's called "Black Death", not sure a lot of people had heard of this little piece of news as the death of Senna and Ratzenberger had dominated all the headlines.

in that issue of Autosport magazine, it has a small news item on this:

Pacific's hopes of lucrative deal dashed by tragedy
In a weekend laced with tragedy and irony, no story was more poignant than that surrounding Pacific Grand Prix's latest sponsorship negotiations.
The team, new to Formula 1 this year and struggling financially, had landed a lucrative deal with the Black Death cigarette company.
The brand, which uses a skull and crossbones logo, discussed its compatibility with the dangers of racing - and ws apparently persuaded positively after Pacific explained there had not been a fatality in F1 for almost 12 years. The stickers arrived at Imola on Saturday and Pacific planned to apply them in time for the race. After Roland Ratzenberger's accident on Saturday, however, there was no question of that. "It's actually a very difficult situation." explained Pacific's Graeme Glew. "The backing could be a saviour, but obviously it would have been inappropriate here."
To make matters worse, Pacific's truck caught fire on the way home, "it seems the rear brakes set alight, I haven't assessed the damage yet, but I think we've salvaged the cars."

it's always puzzled me if this is real as I never heard of this cigarette brand and also never heard of this story from any other source, so after this many years, I decided to check out the internet and found that indeed there's such a cigarette brand.

http://www.420herb.c...lack-death.html

I think it's a sad coincidence, or was it ?

have you heard of this before? do you have more details on it (sponsorship amount, was it a title sponsor?)? Pacific never introduced this sponsorship after the Imola weekend, I guess either they felt it wasn't appropriate or was persuaded by Bernie et al not to, I wonder if they got any financial aid from Bernie if that's the case.

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#2 ensign14

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 14:11

I think Death Cigarettes was some sort of VAT loophole exploitation or something, they were imported cigarettes on a fairly small scale. I do remember talk about them coming in as a sponsor at the time but they were put off cos of Senna's death and they thought it would seem as if they were trying to cash in on it.

#3 HiRich

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 14:35

I've heard the story, but seen no hard evidence of its truth (though I don't really doubt it). As I heard it, after Roland's death, the stickers went straight back in the box - there was no way it was going to happen.

As ensign14 says, there really was a brand called Black Death - cheap, and there was some import aspect to the whole thing. I'm pretty sure the same guy set up the first import scam - You ordered from home, they bought (at local duty rate) for you, and you avoided UK duty.
The pack had a skull-&-crossbones on it. Th idea was "Look, you know they're bad for you. We know they're bad for you. Let's not pretend -if you want to kill yourself, you can do it cheaper with us." I'm pretty sure there was advertising as well, in the final years that billboards and tube ads were allowed for tobacco.

#4 f1steveuk

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 15:29

so what was the reaction to Merzario being sponsored by an undertaker?

#5 canon1753

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 17:20

The difference between Merizario and Pacific is....

Arturo was probably able to cash the check (albeit a very small one), while Pacific lost the sponsorship.

#6 Vitesse2

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 22:02

Originally posted by ensign14
I think Death Cigarettes was some sort of VAT loophole exploitation or something, they were imported cigarettes on a fairly small scale.

They operated out of Luxembourg, taking advantage of the low VAT and tobacco tax and tried to use the "personal import" clause in the duty-free regs. HMC&E didn't look at it like that and simply confiscated the parcels as they arrived in the UK.

Posted Image

Cheerful design, ain't it? :p

#7 RA Historian

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Posted 11 March 2007 - 01:57

Originally posted by Vitesse2
Cheerful design, ain't it? :p

Good grief! That package design would probably do more than all the millions that are being spent by governments on cessation of smoking ads. Sure would not encourage me to take up the habit!

#8 Louis Mr. F1

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Posted 11 March 2007 - 12:58

thank you all for the information.

#9 Gregor Marshall

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 19:45

I may be wrong but if I remember correctly Black Death cigarettes actually sponsored Simtek (RR's car) during the '94 season. Whether they carried on after that fateful weekend at Imola or not I cant remember.

Has anyone got any pictures of Simtek (not Pacific or cars at the Pacific GP) that could confirm or deny??

After Dad's two-seater TVR Tuscan took its last fry at Snetterton, him and with Tony Lanfranchi moved on to Mallory Park with a Porsche 962, the owners name escapes me now, but he was a big smoker and there were several Death Cigarette stickers on the car that were in fact the only stickers on a plain white 962. If I was half IT literate I'd post the pictures of the car, but then this isn't the right thread for it.

#10 stevewf1

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 22:00

Originally posted by RA Historian
Good grief! That package design would probably do more than all the millions that are being spent by governments on cessation of smoking ads. Sure would not encourage me to take up the habit!


I disagree... I think young people everywhere would have snapped them up immediately just because they're "cool"...

I'm a smoker, but I have to ask - what exactly does "American Blend" mean?

#11 RA Historian

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 01:29

Originally posted by stevewf1
I disagree... I think young people everywhere would have snapped them up immediately just because they're "cool"...

I'm a smoker, but I have to ask - what exactly does "American Blend" mean?

You know, you are probably right! As far as American Blend, dunno. Is it any different that Turkish Blend? Got me.

#12 Buford

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 06:20

I remember when Jim Hurtubise's Indy car was sponsored by Tombstone Life Insurance.

#13 ian senior

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 09:18

Originally posted by RA Historian
You know, you are probably right! As far as American Blend, dunno. Is it any different that Turkish Blend? Got me.


"American Blend" means they use Virginia-style tobacco, rather than Balkan tobacco in "Turkish Blend".

#14 Criceto

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 09:33

I seem to recall that the "Black" part of the title was not always used. Certainly there's another tenuous motorsport connection to the campaign in that Death Cigarettes were one of the sponsors of the Monsters of Rock festival in the early 1990s at...

...Donington Park.

Alright, so I said it was tenuous.

#15 HiRich

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 12:13

Originally posted by Criceto
I seem to recall that the "Black" part of the title was not always used.

I think there was also a White Death brand, presumably low tar.

#16 FredF1

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 14:11

Originally posted by Vitesse2

They operated out of Luxembourg, taking advantage of the low VAT and tobacco tax and tried to use the "personal import" clause in the duty-free regs. HMC&E didn't look at it like that and simply confiscated the parcels as they arrived in the UK.

Posted Image

Cheerful design, ain't it? :p




Was that the only design used?


Only, about that time, I recall in Ireland, seeing a black packet with a skull and crossbones emblem on it. A few of the 'Goth' types were smoking them. Knowing about the Simtek connection as I did, I just assumed that they were the 'Death' brand.

#17 rateus

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 15:15

Actually the skull'n'crossbones design is the only one I remember from ads back then. I also remember the brand being just 'Death' (no 'Black') - are we talking about 2 separate brands here?

On a tangent, anyone remember the JPS 'Black xxx' ads from the early 80s? Every time I saw one I always thought of 'Black Death' - funnily enough, that one never got used... :lol:

#18 Garagiste

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 15:50

"Death" was indeed a different design and the one I remember too - the "enlightened tobacco company" IIRC.

#19 ghinzani

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 17:05

I can remember these fags being handed out as freebies at my University around this time, in fact I can recall having a packet when I went to hand in my obituary for Senna in the Student Magazine called "Fly", and someone saying something to me about would I like to write another for Kurt Cobain. The fags were rank by the way, really harsh. Still if they put people off smoking...