V8 vintage Winfield tobacco ad cleared by Health Department of breaching ad laws

The Department of Health and Ageing has cleared the official V8 Supercars website of breaching the strict laws on the promotion of tobacco advertising after the site posted historic images of a car heavily branded with Winfield branding.

The V8 Supercars Saturday Sleuthing feature included several photos of a car with Winfield sponsorship across the side and front of the car.

Ads for the Government’s Quitline are currently being served on the site above the images.

v8 quitline

The item focuses on the history of the Gibson Motorsport Commodores driven by Fred Gibson in the 90s. The Health Department’s Quitnow website is currently running a competition to win a series of four-day circuit passes and grid walks. To win, readers must say in 25 words or less what would motivate themselves or a friend / family member to quit smoking.

Super Sleuthing V8


V8 Supercars Saturday Sleuthing

The Health Department told Mumbrella: “Under the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act 1992 (the Act), with certain limited exceptions, it is an offence to publish or broadcast a tobacco advertisement.

“The Act defines a tobacco advertisement very broadly and it includes any writing, still or moving picture, sign, symbol or other visual image that gives publicity to, or otherwise promotes or is intended to promote (among other things) smoking of or the purchase or use of, tobacco products.

“The Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing has viewed the images at the website: ‘Saturday Sleuthing: The Original Gibson Motorsport Commodore’ and it appears they are the original Gibson Commodore from two decades ago.

“The Department has considered this matter and is of the view that the advertisements accompanying the article are covered by the exception in section 19 of the Act, for incidental publication of a ‘tobacco advertisement’. Therefore, the Department will not be taking action in relation to this matter.”

Section 19 of the Act states that  an advertiser may be exempt from the act if “the person publishes the advertisement as an accidental or incidental accompaniment to the publication of other matter.”

In its statement, the Department of Health did not answer Mumbrella’s question of whether it had an issue of its Quitline ad appearign next to the Winfield branding. However, almost a week after first being asked to comment, the ad is still being served.

UPDATE 4.30pm: Spokesman for V8 Supercars Cole Hitchcock said he had no problem with the page. He said: “These cars are a part of Australian history and we have no problem with them from an editorial standpoint. We are obviously familiar with the advertising laws and do not have any affiliation with any tobacco companies.”

Cameron Boon


  1. Sydney
    3 Jun 13
    1:34 pm

  2. LOL… will the next sneaky tactic by big tobacco be sponsoring the accidental publication of vintage tobacco ads?

  3. Brett Ramsey
    3 Jun 13
    4:23 pm

  4. Before you get swamped by other motorsport fans, the “Winfeild” Commodores were not driven by Fred Gibson but run by his team. The main drivers were Jim Richards and Mark Skaife.
    The whole issue of restrictions on tobacco advertising on classic racecars is one that has serious implications for the whole Historic Racing movement.
    Some of the sports most famous cars carried tobacco brands: The JPS Lotus, Marlboro McLaren, Gitanes Liger in F1 and here in Australia the Marlboro Holden Dealer Team, JPS BMW and of course Winfeild and Peter Jackson racing.
    Now these cars are racing in Historic events and being told to change their classic livery to meet the modern sensibilities of the 2000s.
    Classic footage of races of the time are being electronically defaced to blot out the offending messages.
    And how will the thought police deal with Ron Howards new film “Rush” which features many of these classic liveries including one on one of the lead protagonists car.
    Should we change history, to sanitise it for the current times? And if so how far do we go?
    I have hundreds of magazines of the era full of photos of these cars, should we burn these as well?

  5. newtaste
    3 Jun 13
    9:18 pm

  6. Is Mumbrella’s republishing of the photographs covered under the incidental exception that applies to the V8 Supercars website?