Curiouser and curiouser

The tobacco brand JPS may be taking advantage of the return to Formula 1 of the black and gold livery that will be seen this year on the Lotus Renault GP team. Given that the team is taking advantage of the livery, to link itself to the efforts of JPS Team Lotus between 1972 and 1986, it is not outrageous for the tobacco company to do the same, particularly as this is not against law in countries that still allow point-of-sale advertising.

Our spies in Austria have spotted JPS motor racing-linked tobacco point-of-sale advertising in recent days. This uses a depiction of a grid and the words “The Legend”, with a JPS branded cigarette packet featuring racing tyres at each corner. This is going to be seen as linked to the black and gold racing cars that Lotus Renault GP will be running this year, even if the tobacco company and the racing team argue that such a thing should not be the case.

The JPS brand is sold in Austria by Imperial Tobacco Austria Marketing Service Gmbh, a subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco. In accordance with the EU tobacco advertising directive, tobacco advertising has been prohibited in Austria. But while tobacco branding is no longer allowed to appear on racing cars, there is nothing to stop racing cars appearing on cigarette packets, or advertising relating to them. Such ideas have been tried before, notably by Marlboro, which has used a wide variety of different F1-linked packaging for its cigarettes in markets across the world since the global ban on tobacco advertising in F1 began in 2006. These have not been used in recent years for fear that the authorities will move against point-of-sale advertising, something that is already being suggested should happen in the most anti-smoking countries, such as the United States. The team continues to be called Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro and there has been speculation that the deal between Marlboro and Ferrari will be extended again soon until the end of 2014. An announcement to that effect is expected at the launch of the new Ferrari at the end of the month.

It remains to be seen whether there any formal commercial links between Lotus Renault GP and JPS, but given the team’s need for more funding it would not be a surprise as the tobacco industry is rarely short of cash and hard-pressed to find ways to advertise without getting into trouble.

32 thoughts on “Curiouser and curiouser

  1. Would French law be similar to Canadian in regards logos and such? I don’t know the full extent outside the normal advert rules and actual logos.

  2. Ha ha! Cheeky, but you can hardly blame them. I was thinking the Canadian law thing may be ok as the colour scheme isn’t sponsorship from JPS, just a historic colour scheme – but this would hardly help their case!

    Surely though it would just mean the cars covering the gold in Canada and running an all black car (or, even better marketing wise run a special ‘Canada-colours’ scheme with some local sponsorship) for that one race? Hardly a particularly troublesome worst case?

  3. In an imaginary life, i would reincarnate as some devilish PI, find a connexion between Bahar and selling the weed, and beat them all about with a clue stick.

    Don’t care if it’s a coincidence. There may be many other evils, but seriously, as my Cousins are wont to say: Enough Already.

    Yes, there really many more evils. We’re a blink away from getting smashed by diseases our forefathers celebrated as being eradicated. And there are supposely new things, like Prions, which are like they’re from outer space, they are so scary. Huge thing, then, knocking off Smallpox, getting good antibiotics, avoiding another flu, though that was chance, not science. It was the third war.

    A real amazing schoolfriend of mine, who does medical trials, well he sad this before he took up that line, was a surgeon first, said to me, i have to paraphrase; “But John, look at democracy. It’s just a blip. Only our dad’s knew the general vote”. He’s off working on these big disease problems, for all practical purposes sequestered for his own safety. Missing you, Simon, be well.

    So, we can’t fix cancer, but we can purportedly claim to be “doing something”. Right. Not enough, and i say this as someone who is not disgusted if anyone lights up around me.

    The genuine criminality with tobacco, is they make fags the same way you make crack out of cocaine. Read the settlements. That’s the crux of it all.

    Hope you can forgive me, don’t have the time to do a clean analysis.

    – john

  4. I just find it funny that when Fernandes announced his decision to launch a black/gold colour scheme, it was all seen as lovely and rosy and a great hark back to a great piece of Lotus heritage…….now Bahar does it and pieces like this appear – seems a big hypocritical IMO

    What about the fan-competition Lotus Racing ran and they now insist that a showcar will be painted in the winners chose livery (pointless exercise now considering if you ask me) – why isnt everyone going after that as being wrong???……oh yeah, because its coming from Fernandes….the angel

    1. Giuseppe,

      What a lot of crap you have written. When Fernandes did it in Abu Dhabi the story was just about the heritage. There had been no time for any of these complications to emerge and so there was no need to look at it in a more critical way. Obviously when Bahar followed suit it simply reinforced the impression that he was trying to bully Fernandes out of the way, so there was no reason to be positive at that point. If you think this is the way to behave then I suggest you apply for a job at Hethel – unless, of course, you already have one.

  5. My genuine feeling Joe is that the black and gold livery from Group Lotus wasnt a retroactive measure going after Fernandes…

    …my genuine feeling here is that because of the whole Concorde Agreement factor dictating the chassis designation having to remain as ‘Renault’, at least until 2013 when a new deal is in place, having the black/gold livery helps makes more sense/provides a visual identity link of RENAULT with LOTUS, owing to the original Lotus-Renault cars back in the mid-80s and Senna days when the Lotus Renault cars also employed the black/gold livery.

    For the interim therefore, it helps to make more sense of the dual Renault/Lotus branding on the 2011 car.

    Looking at all the junior Group Lotus racing cars liveries from 2011 onwards, they all employ the classic Lotus Green/Yellow, same as Fernandes’ Lotus and so my belief is that the Groups eventual plan is to have the F1 car in the green/yellow, but only once they can have their own Lotus-themed chassis designation activated by the Concorde agreement should that happen.

    Until then for Group, the Black/Gold makes the Renault link more ‘Lotus-ified’ by harking back to a previous period of collaboration and works as an effective stop gap.

    I just cant see how long-term, Fernandes can continue with the Lotus brand, whats in it for him when the family have pulled their support publicalluy and when it makes sense for Group to run as Lotus for they are promoting the road car side……..presuming Bahars 5 car plan is successful, and presuming Tony then doesnt acquire or inherit the car company along the line, then what? What is in his benefit to promote LOTUS?

    1. Giuseppe F1,

      Fernandes is continuing with the Lotus brand because, until a judge says otherwise, he has a licence for the next five years to use that name in Formula 1. He believes the licence has been terminated because Lotus changed its strategy, as Bahar has admitted recently, and not because he did anything wrong. Lotus changed its mind and decided that Fernandes was in the way and thus has been trying to push him out of the way, which is not really fair. Now, if he wins the legal action and the licence is upheld then he can do as he pleases. He may believe (as many people do) that Group Lotus is “doing an Icarus” and will inevitably come crashing down in the next five years. He will then be in a position to buy the wreckage and do the job properly – as he did with Air Asia. So, if he is allowed to run Team Lotus in F1 there is nothing to stop him also starting the, let’s say, Eclair car company, building road cars for the old Lotus buyers who want the kind of car that Colin Chapman used to build. Eclair could be a sponsor of Team Lotus, just as Lotus can be a sponsor of Renault F1. Thus the F1 cars could publicise the Eclair. If one day Group Lotus crashes and Tony buys it then the Eclair could become a Lotus Cars brand name, alongside a new generation of E-cars such as the Elapse, the Explode, the Elope, the Elude, the Evict and the Elegy (a tribute to the Bahar Era perhaps?)

      Surely, the measure of a true Lotus is not whether it is built by a Malaysian company which owns the automotive brand, but rather whether it fits the ethos of the company in such a way as to attract customers…

  6. I’m sure if Ferrari can’t run subliminal Marlboro, Renault will not get away with running subliminal JPS.

    … Just like they shouldn’t be allowed to race as subliminal Team Lotus 😉

  7. From looking very briefly at the historic JPS/Lotus sponsorship it seems that it was phenomenally successful for JPS (Mr Imperial Tobacco), so much so that when sponsorship ended sales of the fags dropped dramatically, so it was resumed and sales of the ciggies rose again.
    I have to admit that I smoked at the time and was pleased to be seen with the stylish black and gold packet, I as did many others, fell hook, line and sinker for the ad man’s pitch.

    Now since JPS is still currently on sale in the same black and gold packet, there could be a case made that they (Renault) were engaging in cigarette advertising. Why are they listening to Bahar anyway? The team is 100% Genii owned, not even half a nut is owned by Lotus Group plc.

    1. rpaco,

      Life is not always as simple as it seems. Perhaps GenII does own all of Lotus Renault GP. But how do we know who owns GenII?

  8. For Giuseppe,

    Wasn’t that a Ford-Cosworth V8 engine in the John Player Team Lotus that Emerson Fittipaldi used in 1972 to win the championship?

    The Lotus-Renault connection using JPS livery came later in the 1980’s, so it was not the ‘original’ one as you stated.

  9. For mvi

    I didnt state what you said…

    …. My statement was

    “original Lotus-Renault cars back in the mid-80s”

    I didnt say the ‘original JPS livery ever’ – I was making reference to the original ‘Lotus-Renault’ cars specifically which ran in black/gold livery

  10. It seems Renault have asked the Canadian board of health to make a decision before the F1 season starts, as to whether the JPS livery will not be allowed to be used in Canada.

    Because Renault will have to seek F1 commission approval to change livery once the season starts.

    Maybe it would simply be wiser for Renault to drop the JPS look-a-like colour scheme.

  11. “…then the Eclair could become a Lotus Cars brand name, alongside a new generation of E-cars such as the Elapse, the Elope, the Elude, the Evict and the Elegy (a tribute to the Bahar Era perhaps?).”

    One of THE best lines I have read, Joe! Fantastic!

  12. There is no way that the FIA or any national health authority can stop Lotus Renault GP running a black car with gold striping when Ferrari is still officially entered into the championship and every race on the calendar, including Canada, as ‘Scuderia Ferrari MARLBORO’

    Its the reds the Canadian authorities should be going after!

  13. Joe,

    any truth in the rumour that this page of your blog will be banned in Canada since it contains ‘tobacco advertising’?

    1. Riccbat,

      I do hope so. Nothing like good ban to get the word out. Ask Red Bull about their French ban. They loved it. Made them edgy and subversive…

  14. “the tobacco industry is rarely short of cash and hard-pressed to find ways to advertise without getting into trouble”

    Fanfares: tadam!

  15. “I’m sure if Ferrari can’t run subliminal Marlboro…”

    Ferrari’s new logo looks more like a packet of Marlies than the old one!

  16. Didn’t the license TF had only pertain to use in Formula 1. And then he went and tried to make a Lotus Racing Energy Drink. Isnt that one of the reasons the license was terminated?

    1. I am not sure of the details, but a Lotus Racing energy drink may come under the banner of racing promotion. I think it best to let the courts decide.

  17. Dear all

    Joe, you haven’t covered the entire model range- the Excreta, the Excrement, the ‘Elp!!!, the ‘Ellonwheels, and, to ensure behind the scenes support for the Black n Gold car…….. the Eccleston!!!!


  18. Joe,

    looks like i have to do some remedial reading,

    but i recall there were some very interesting decisions about constructive breach at the end of the TWR case. Possibly why the case went on for most of that decade. In higher court, so this is law not easily overturned.

    Could it be, that . . I can’t bring myself to say it. But it would be poetic justice.

    On my break, so i’ll get the listing. I really don’t want to hear a lot of worthless interlocutory applications, there will probably be a hiatus, whilst the sides are told to get themselves in better order. But, if it’s not a scrum, i’ll be there.


    really enjoyed your thinking, from your recent comments. Top stuff. (No, not going touchy – feely on you, just appreciate a good laugh, ‘coz i think you’re on the money there)

    all best to all,

    – john k

  19. I’m really pushing it here, but i think i found the history of bad F1 sponsorship:

    No comment, but it is a safe for work link.

    – john k

  20. Giuseppe F1, I agree with most of what you’ve said in all your comments.

    Although, I feel that there could be some relationship between Group Lotus/Renault and JPS simply because the livery seems too close to the JPS colours. And with Dany Bahar and others who’ve been around in F1 at the helm, they would have foreseen things like this. Without any connection with JPS I doubt they would have been bold enough to come up with such a design that immediately brings JPS to mind. I watched the Autosport International interview with Vitaly Petrov online, and the Lotus Renault GP logo on his shirt was so striking, it immediately brought JPS to mind. There must be something going on.

    But as you said, no one can do anything about it. Ferrari has recently renewed its association with Marlboro, so if Canada is concerned it should deal with Ferrari first. Ferrari have openly accepted tobacco sponsorship, Lotus Renault may be doing it in a more secretive manner.

    But whether Tony Fernandes was working on a JPS tobacco association earlier when he came up with the black livery contest is a topic for debate. Such a deal may have flopped and he would have therefore decided to stick with the green and yellow. I have a feeling whether Fernandes may have suddenly befriended the Canadian anti-tobacco authorities to halt Lotus Renault’s progress! It’s just a hunch. I of course have no proof.

    But what I can say is if Tony is a genius at winning business and legal battles, so would be Dany Bahar. Bahar can’t be intimidated that easily, or he wouldn”t have come up with this Lotus Renault plan in the first place, going against the popularity tide. Recently he said an out-of-court arrangement could be possible. This Bahar’s business mind is working hard and fast as much as Tony’s.

    Again, with Clive Chapman in Group Lotus Renault’s stand, Tony has no spiritual backing. If you ask me, his holding on to the Team Lotus is of absolutely no value, since it has lost its charm. Everyone knows who the Lotus family supports , who Group Lotus supports, who Colin Chapman’s descencants support.

    Tony just has an empty Team Lotus badge with him. But agin, he may be playing some games as well.

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