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May 13, 2010 12:19 PM   Subscribe

Halation can interfere with your brain making out the shapes of distorted words, such as on passing highway signs. Banned from advertising in F1 racing, a major tobacco company that sponsors a team came up with a novel design solution that may play on this visual effect to an opposite, suggestive effect, depending on the observer. European officials were not amused, going so far as to call the design "subliminal". Ferrari responded by removing traces of the design from its cars. Judas Priest could not be reached for comment. [via]
posted by Blazecock Pileon (53 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
super find blazecock pileon
posted by infini at 12:24 PM on May 13, 2010


Clearly smoking is safe, as long as you don't inhalate.
posted by chavenet at 12:24 PM on May 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


*heh* that's actually pretty brilliant, in a very subversive kind of way.
posted by hippybear at 12:33 PM on May 13, 2010


Given how carefully F1 engineers parse the sporting rules to tweak their cars and eke out hundredths of seconds here and there, it would be irresponsible for F1 lawyers not to carefully parse the tobacco advertising rules to tweak their liveries and eke out hundreds of millions of dollars here and there.

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's denials have been categorical -- the barcode is part of the car's livery, not Marlboro branding. I wonder how the law defines 'branding'.
posted by notyou at 12:33 PM on May 13, 2010


I tried it once but I did not inhalation.
posted by Babblesort at 12:35 PM on May 13, 2010


Great. Now I want a cigarette.
posted by poe at 12:36 PM on May 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Great, now I can't get that Ferrari smell out of my clothes.
posted by tmt at 12:40 PM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Great, now I can't get that Ferrari smell out of my clothes.

A problem that I devoutly wish I could suffer.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 12:47 PM on May 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Given the text of the statute, I don't understand how they can legally sponsor the team, regardless of whether they advertise on the car, uniforms, helmets, etc.

(Furthermore, even though the barcode was not on the car at Catalunya, it was on Alonso's helmet, which was in the shot whenever they showed an in-car view.)
posted by The World Famous at 12:49 PM on May 13, 2010


Dastardly! I love it!
posted by everichon at 12:51 PM on May 13, 2010


Cool. But this really doesn't have anything to do with Judas Priest unfortunately.
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:51 PM on May 13, 2010


Is this like one of those magic eye things? Cause I can't see them, either.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:53 PM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is this like one of those magic eye things? Cause I can't see them, either.

You don't have to be able to see it. Once you know that Marlboro paid to have it put there, it doesn't matter what it looks like.
posted by The World Famous at 12:54 PM on May 13, 2010


Do they ever check under the wheel wells?
posted by Talanvor at 12:57 PM on May 13, 2010


Do they ever check under the wheel wells?

Not a fan of F1, I take it?
posted by Thorzdad at 1:02 PM on May 13, 2010 [19 favorites]


> Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro...

It strikes to me the calculation is in the team's name, featuring "Marlboro", being uttered by announcers and appearing on-screen in the chyron at the same time the car in full, ahem, livery crosses the screen. It won't happen every time, possibly not most times, but probably scores of times in any race.

I showed a photo of the team's car to a colleague here, captioned in flyspeck type, and he recognized the logo immediately while claiming he couldn't read the caption. Which may be true or may be suggestion, but it's more or less the effect the sponsor is counting on.

The design is very calculated, very clever.
posted by ardgedee at 1:05 PM on May 13, 2010


|\/|┆╎/\╞╵|╎┆┍
posted by oulipian at 1:06 PM on May 13, 2010 [7 favorites]


Pater Aletheias: “Is this like one of those magic eye things? Cause I can't see them, either.”

Yeah, I don't know what's going on. One of my exes smoked Marlboros religiously, but I still don't see it. Can somebody explain to me how this looks like this? Is it just the red/white thing? I guess that's interesting - breaking it up with lines only accentuates the two colors.
posted by koeselitz at 1:07 PM on May 13, 2010


People who watch traffic (auto racing) may smoke too.
posted by Cranberry at 1:08 PM on May 13, 2010


It's funny, the red-and-white barcode makes me want to deposit all my money in a Spanish bank.
posted by chavenet at 1:12 PM on May 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Formula One team said Friday it wanted to "remove all speculation" that the large bar code on its paint work was associated with its principal sponsor. Ferrari says the idea of the design being advertising for Marlboro is "ridiculous."
Yeah right. Come on, there is no way that it could just be a coincidence.
Can somebody explain to me how this looks like this?
koeselitz: try squinting. Or look at the tiny version above the big shell logo in the image you linked too
posted by delmoi at 1:19 PM on May 13, 2010


Why the hateration for the halation?
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:21 PM on May 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


this link shows you can't advertise cigarettes but you can advertise a bank on an f1 ferrari. shurely shome mishtake?
posted by marienbad at 1:22 PM on May 13, 2010


Koeselitz: but I still don't see it. Can somebody explain to me how this looks like this?

Read up on the effect of Halation on colors placed within context to one another and in motion, it's very cool, especially the video and also look at the design effects as shown just before the comments on this page.

Besides the fact that the name of the Ferrari F1 car includes the word Marlboro within it, anyone who's smoked knows how big a part of the visual environment a pack of cigarettes is especially when you're the smoker and you're always needing to grab for them, and that design easily translates into an synesthetic suggestion for Marlboro, and if that wasn't enough, this ingenious little innovation has just landed Marlboro a dozens of millions of dollars in free advertising and millions of pairs of eyes trying to make out the Marlboro logo in that design as it's moving 200 + miles an hour.

Christ, cigarette companies are assholes.

But damn, if I don't want a cigarette now. And a drink.
posted by Skygazer at 1:22 PM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Great. I just scanned that barcode with my iPhone and now I can't get this fucking cowboy out of my house.
posted by felix betachat at 1:35 PM on May 13, 2010 [19 favorites]


ardgedee: Yeah, but not so much, it turns out. I catch most of the races (and many of the practice sessions and qualifying), and usually the announcers just go with "Ferrari" or sometimes they flourish it up with "Scuderia Ferrari" but practically never "Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro".

The weird thing is how long it's taken the authorities to notice. The barcode's been there since 2005 and everybody who pays attention to F1 pretty much understood that it meant "Marlboro".
posted by notyou at 2:00 PM on May 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


oh this is apt, yes it is, it is

The Hidden Persuaders

The Marlboro Babies
posted by infini at 2:06 PM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


> this ingenious little innovation has just landed Marlboro a dozens of millions of dollars in free advertising

They're paying two hundred million dollars a year for the right to put their marque (or something evocative of it) on the cars and the vest patches of the crew, so it's pretty far from free. I half don't blame them for doing everything they can to sneak around the law, as they're sinking a lot of money into this as a marketing effort.
posted by ardgedee at 2:18 PM on May 13, 2010


probably because of reasons like this (in Europe)
posted by infini at 2:22 PM on May 13, 2010


shurely shome mishtake?

Sorry for the confusion Mr. Connery.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:35 PM on May 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


I remember when I was living in West Germany in 1986, and the movie theaters would run Marlboro commercials before the movies, full of cowboys and the theme from The Magnificent Seven. My 18-year-old self was a bit shocked.

They also would run Langnese (Good Humor ice cream) commercials before the movie, and then the projector would stop, the house lights would go up and a theater employee would be standing in the aisle wearing one of those "strap-around-the-neck" sales boxes and would call out "Does anyone want ice cream?" They might make a few sales.

Then the lights would go out and the movie would finally start.
posted by hippybear at 2:39 PM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


The weird thing is how long it's taken the authorities to notice. The barcode's been there since 2005 and everybody who pays attention to F1 pretty much understood that it meant "Marlboro".

Quoted for truth. Everyone in F1 knows, or knew, about this, and it was no big deal until apparently the past two weeks. Everybody has worried a hell of a lot more about things like semi-legal aero diffusers, semi-legal mass-dampening systems, a possible return of kinetic energy recovery systems, wing-stalling aerodynamic devices that technically aren't allowed to have any moving parts but are still somehow controlled by the drivers, illegal ride-height adjustments done in "parc ferme" conditions that are the result of blocks of -- people think -- dry ice taken on board the car during qualifying but which vaporizes overnight before the race, and other various and sundry rule-bending endeavors.

tl;dr version of my post: NASCAR fans, you are really missing out.
posted by mark242 at 2:47 PM on May 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


in a very subversive kind of way

Yes, because there's nothing quite as subversive as a multimillion dollar corporation finding ways to keep pushing its carcinogenic wares to millions of drug addicts through refined psychological techniques.

Philip Morris, freedom fighters.
posted by Skeptic at 3:01 PM on May 13, 2010


Everybody has worried a hell of a lot more about things like semi-legal aero diffusers, semi-legal mass-dampening systems, a possible return of kinetic energy recovery systems, wing-stalling aerodynamic devices that technically aren't allowed to have any moving parts but are still somehow controlled by the drivers, illegal ride-height adjustments done in "parc ferme" conditions that are the result of blocks of -- people think -- dry ice taken on board the car during qualifying but which vaporizes overnight before the race, and other various and sundry rule-bending endeavors.

That sounds really interesting. How can something be "semi-legal"? I'd be curious to read about how some of that stuff works.
posted by delmoi at 3:15 PM on May 13, 2010


How can something be "semi-legal"? I'd be curious to read about how some of that stuff works.

Basically, the way it works is that it's legal if you have the FIA in your pocket, illegal if you don't.
Fuck F1, really. It's a pirates' lair, rife with money laundering, cheating, backroom deals and dubious characters like Flavio Briatore or Bernie Ecclestone.
posted by Skeptic at 3:29 PM on May 13, 2010


Sometimes I wonder if one of the things keeping Americans out of F1 is concern about the FCPA, actually.
posted by The World Famous at 3:37 PM on May 13, 2010


Oh, Skeptic. all that's part of what makes F1 so much fun!

In fact, thinking about how most of the races go, with many decided in qualifying, or by the first corner, or so often by the engineers and with so few races featuring duels between drivers and less overtaking, the piracy and corruption and skullduggery is probably the greater part of what makes F1 fun.

Delmoi: Some of it is as Skeptic says -- the regulatory bodies are probably compromised -- the bulk of it comes down to careful reading of the rules and clever engineering. Consider the diffuser mark242 mentioned. It famously appeared on Brawn GP's entry last year (nee Honda, nee BAR (as in British American Tobacco Racing (as in Lucky Strike))) and also on Toyota's and Williams' cars. Those cars' diffusers were larger and more effective at creating downforce than competitors' diffusers. Naturally, the competitors cried foul. Eventually the authorities determined the design was within the rules and soon most of the entries had similar diffusers fitted.
posted by notyou at 4:33 PM on May 13, 2010


It's a pirates' lair, rife with money laundering, cheating, backroom deals and dubious characters

Sounds pretty awesome to me.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 4:33 PM on May 13, 2010


Breaking the law, breaking the law
Breaking the law, breaking the la-a-a-a-a-wwwwwwwwww
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:49 PM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ferrari have always been red, right*? Do you think the Ferrari red has always been the same? Think again. Now (since 1996, I think) it's Marlboro red.

* basically for historical reasons: every country had a specific colour assigned from what was to become the FIA. Blue for France, red for Italy, silver for Germany, etc. Ferrari stuck with that specific red, which in Italy is aptly named "Rosso Ferrari" afterwards, until the sponsor deal.
posted by _dario at 4:54 PM on May 13, 2010


Oh, and Delmoi. This year's diffuser controversy involves something called the "F Duct", which is an air duct above the driver's head that direct airflow onto the rear spoiler. Several years ago the FIA mandated smaller rear spoilers in order to weaken downforce. Simultaneously, they replaced the less grippy grooved tires with extra grippy slick tires. The result was less traction or grip from downforce and more from the tires. The idea was that less downforce and more mechanical grip would lead to more passing because overtaking drivers would be able to creep up closer to the car ahead without worrying about the effects of turbulent air on their spoilers (causing them to lose grip).

Teams have always been able to tweak their spoilers for different track layouts. For technical courses with lots of tight cornering and few all out straights, they angle the spoiler to trap the maximum amount of air (Monaco, say). They aren't concerned with drag because they won't be hitting top speed much anyway. On courses with more high speed straights, such as Monza, they are concerned about drag, so they dial back the spoiler and give up aerodynamic grip and speed in the turns, but gain on the straights.

The rules forbid teams from fitting moving parts to the aero packages, otherwise drivers would be able to adjust front and rear spoilers as they work their way around the circuit, adding more downforce in the turns and removing it on the straights. What several of the teams have done this year, notably McClaren, is fit *something* into that duct above the drivers' head that redirects airflow over the spoiler and causes it to stall, just like an airplane wing, so the spoiler doesn't produce as much downforce and, more importantly, doesn't produce as much drag. In effect, engineers can dial in maximum downforce for the turns, and drivers can switch it off on the straights.

Apparently, the F Duct will be banned for next season.
posted by notyou at 5:00 PM on May 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


"illegal ride-height adjustments done in 'parc ferme' conditions that are the result of blocks of -- people think -- dry ice taken on board the car during qualifying but which vaporizes overnight before the race, and other various and sundry rule-bending endeavors."

This is what I love about F1 racing. It's got all the intrigue of spys in the cold war without any risk of MAD.
posted by Mitheral at 5:00 PM on May 13, 2010


The rules forbid teams from fitting moving parts to the aero packages, otherwise drivers would be able to adjust front and rear spoilers as they work their way around the circuit, adding more downforce in the turns and removing it on the straights.

It's so weird that they ban awesome robotic cars. I don't get racing AT ALL.
posted by flaterik at 6:11 PM on May 13, 2010


Marlboro and racing. Makes total sense.

Sort of like smoking during a refueling pit stop.
posted by bwg at 6:30 PM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fuck F1, really. It's a pirates' lair, rife with money laundering, cheating, backroom deals and dubious characters

And every now and then, you get moments like these from the 2000 Belgian Grand Prix.
posted by philip-random at 8:23 PM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sort of like smoking during a refueling pit stop.
No need to smoke
posted by alfanut at 8:42 PM on May 13, 2010


That sounds really interesting. How can something be "semi-legal"? I'd be curious to read about how some of that stuff works.

You've already heard the story about the semi-legal diffuser. The mass dampener (or "mass damper") was run by Renault for the better part of a year. It basically kept the car from bouncing around on various bumps or rolling too much in the corners, allowing for better overall mechanical grip and keeping the car close to the ground. Teams complained because hey, they didn't think of it first. (This is a recurring theme in F1-- someone has a flash of technical brilliance, all the teams whine that they didn't come up with it and "appeal" to the governing body, and the innovation either stays or goes. When it stays, all the teams generally implement it on their cars within one or two races.)

The "wing-stalling aerodynamic devices" are the F-Ducts mentioned above. Ferrari is calling theirs the "blown wing device" because McLaren called theirs an "F-Duct" and the rivalry between Ferrari and McLaren is like Ford vs. Chevy, only at 18,000 rpm. The driver does something -- pushing a little rubber bladder that technically isn't a movable part -- or in the case of Ferrari people actually think that the drivers have a magnet or something put onto the top of their gloves and are completing a circuit to activate the system.

The Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) are basically like what your average Prius has; regenerative braking puts power into a gigantic bank of batteries, and the drivers push a button on their steering wheel to give them extra horsepower for little bursts during a lap.

It's so weird that they ban awesome robotic cars. I don't get racing AT ALL.

What do you mean -- Michael Schumacher came back this year!

In all seriousness though, if the F1 rules didn't specifically state that there must be a driver, I'm sure the teams would try to have an unmanned drone sort of car, because of the significant weight penalty of the driver himself. The past few years, the FIA governing body has put a lot of rules in place that have actually taken away a lot of the technical innovation; traction control is gone, a lot of aerodynamic innovations are gone, the gearboxes are specifically less technical, etc etc etc. The reason for this is twofold: one, cost-- teams were spending hundreds of millions of dollars to field their cars. Second, for the reason tangentially mentioned above-- F1 cars are specifically designed to ride on the razors edge of what is possible within the laws of physics and every car was so good, and so evenly matched, that it was nearly physically impossible to pass another car.

I'm sure you saw that Youtube video of the dude's front wheels basically blowing up at the same time; that's a small carbon fiber failure of two very small pieces on the car, because of the sheer amount of force placed upon the car to hold it on the track. Everything about F1 is like that. Engines have to be manually heated up before they can even start because they're designed to work optimally at extremely high temperatures -- at rest, the engine has basically seized up. On the other end of the scale, if an F1 car stays running in one place for more than a minute or so, the engine blows up (and I mean blows up) from overheating.

This is why F1 is such an awesome, awesome motorsport. The cars are designed to go as quickly as physically possible, around a given track, within the rules given out by the governing body. Lately, there has been more concentration on the actual show, and the sport, and less on technical innovation. A lot of people are angry about this, but I don't mind it at all; the engineers will always find a way to innovate even if they don't have things like traction control etc.
posted by mark242 at 8:59 PM on May 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


mark242: “This is why F1 is such an awesome, awesome motorsport. The cars are designed to go as quickly as physically possible, around a given track, within the rules given out by the governing body. Lately, there has been more concentration on the actual show, and the sport, and less on technical innovation. A lot of people are angry about this, but I don't mind it at all; the engineers will always find a way to innovate even if they don't have things like traction control etc.”

And the people with money will always find a way to buy off the judges, &c. Honestly, F1 is the most corrupt sport in existence. It surprises me that it's still so popular.
posted by koeselitz at 9:11 PM on May 13, 2010


In all seriousness though, if the F1 rules didn't specifically state that there must be a driver, I'm sure the teams would try to have an unmanned drone sort of car, because of the significant weight penalty of the driver himself.

Which would also be awesome.
posted by flaterik at 11:00 PM on May 13, 2010


And the people with money will always find a way to buy off the judges,

I wish they'd just give up on the rules so the money could be spent making the cars robots. I want a car that goes mach 1.3. At Monaco.
posted by flaterik at 11:03 PM on May 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


What several of the teams have done this year, notably McClaren, is fit *something* into that duct above the drivers' head that redirects airflow over the spoiler and causes it to stall, just like an airplane wing, so the spoiler doesn't produce as much downforce and, more importantly, doesn't produce as much drag. In effect, engineers can dial in maximum downforce for the turns, and drivers can switch it off on the straights.

I just read up on this. It's absolutely brilliant!

They apparently have a duct that goes from the front to the rear of the car, with a hole exiting into the cockpit. Most of the time, the hole is spewing air to "cool the driver" (nudge, nudge). But, if the driver puts his foot over the hole, the air is redirected down the rest of the duct and stalls the wing.

This is such a fucking excellent way around the "no moving parts" rule that I can do nothing but grin about it.

Shame it'll be illegal. That said, the use of this thing isn't the neat part... it's the invention of it.
posted by Netzapper at 12:31 AM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


The weird thing is how long it's taken the authorities to notice. The barcode's been there since 2005 and everybody who pays attention to F1 pretty much understood that it meant "Marlboro".

Indeed. Well known for years. I liked the barcode look personally.

As for semi-legal and all the rest, the only thing I despise about F1 is the constant complaining and conspiracy theories that are never proven but often created and speculated.

Rules are open to interpretation and when interpretations clash, that's all it is. Nothing more, as far as I'm concerned. The idea that teams are in the favour of the governing body is entirely absurd. For years Ferrari was supposed to be the anointed team prompting even Honda to say the championship is fixed in their favour. Simple sour grapes really. Such statements ignore sweeping rule changes in 2003 that effectively were created to end Ferrari's dominance. Of course Ferrari didn't win the championship for a couple of seasons running when Honda made that statement.

Good teams are good regardless of the rules in most cases, and the FIA's constant diddling to make things more even is ridiculous. Sort of let's punish the competent and promote the incompetent, and Honda was extremely incompetent in recent years in F1 save one good season where they finished second. Why would Honda participate in a fixed sport in the first place? It's rather hilarious that they hired good people (former Ferrari staff included) to improve the team, withdrew, sold the team to Ross Brawn (a former Ferrari chief who was there for Ferrari's 5 consecutive championships) and then Brawn GP, won the championship. It could have been Honda's championship had they remained.

Of course now that Brawn was with the former Honda, now Mercedes team, he apparently isn't the devious, diabolical cheater he was when he was with Ferrari. That's because he wasn't a cheater in the first fucking place.
posted by juiceCake at 7:02 AM on May 14, 2010


The Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) are basically like what your average Prius has; regenerative braking puts power into a gigantic bank of batteries

Actually, it doesn't have batteries. It has a very small capacitor that only holds the charge for a very short time and must be discharged all at once.
posted by The World Famous at 2:26 PM on May 14, 2010


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