A lot of people saw a Marlboro cigarette box. Yeah, I see the resemblance. Then people started ranting about subliminal advertising. Oh, come on.
Ferrari did the smart thing and removed the bar code. They maintain they never intended the resemblance, and I believe them. After all, I know how these things can happen. I’ve been embarrassed often enough when my own work came out looking like I intended to do something I hadn’t.
(Like the time I created a brochure with a photo of a doctor standing in front of an X-ray. Only after printing and distributing 100,000 of them did I happen to notice that the X-ray was of a pelvic region. And that the pelvic region clearly belonged to a man.)
It doesn’t help that Philip Morris is a big Ferrari sponsor. But again, come on. If you were PM’s or Ferrari’s marketing director, would you be dumb enough to believe that something that blatant would only be noticed by the subconscious?
As for subliminal techniques: they don’t work. If you ever catch advertisers attempting to use them, don’t protest. Just let them waste their money.