Universal Removed Marlboro Logos From Rush Trailers

Car Racing

Rush, a biographical film which shows the 1976 challenge between MacLaren driver James Hunt and Ferrari driver Nikki Lauda was released in September in the USA.

Philip Morris imprinted its well-recognized Marlboro cigarettes brand on MacLaren team cars. Soon it imprinted brand’s logos on Ferrari. As a result, the movie is full of Marlboro logos. The movie is rated “R” in the USA for reasons other than tobacco.  Rush’s trailers show the Marlboro logo in racetrack, pit and garage. Another trailer shows Hunt smoking.

At the end of the summer, Legacy, the American Academy of Pediatrics and six state Attorneys General sent Universal company a letter in which they asked the studio to remove Marlboro logo and smoking moments from Rush ads that do appear on TV and web because children may see it. John Britton said that Rush’s promotion would associate Marlboro to Formula One for kids and asked that smoking and Marlboro logos be removed from the film’s ads.

Distrbutors for the Rush movie in the USA and Great Britain have digitally changed a Formula One race car and its driver’s racing suit in order to remove Marlboro logo in  trailers. However, before the movie release, Universal added three promotion shots with Marlboro to Rush’s official website.

Public health representatives have been looking for ways to remove tobacco companies from motorsports and other important events that are shown on TV. Tobacco sponsorship is considered as advertising. While Rush was in development, Philip Morris International was promoting events at race tracks in Asia that featured a unreal Ferrari racer and the moto “Marlboro: Red Rush” to highlight its Formula One campaign.

In the UK the Rush trailers were rated as “12A” and the movie itself “15.” The MPAA rated the film “R” for reasons other than tobacco. The 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) bans tobacco product placement visible to children. Philip Morris USA asked Universal to make changes on Rush web site and in trailers.

For the first time tobacco branding was digitally removed from a film’s TV ads. However, Marlboro cigarettes brand will still be promoted by the film as its logo remains in the film itself; on Rush web site and in older trailers online.

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