1910 Adolfo Busi ad.
The first Pirelli advertising campaigns went through two centuries with contributions from the best designers ever.
At the very beginning of the new century, the company took off. Those were, indeed, the years when the long P trademark began to develop, thanks also to Marcello Dudovich, Plinio Codognato and Leonardo Cappiello.
In the years between the wars, the Pirelli Group communication began spreading all around the world. The trend reached full bloom in the 1950s and 1960s, when the best European designers congregated at Pirelli: Max Huber, Pavel M. Engelmann, Bob Noorda, Albe Steiner, and Raymond Savignac; among the Italian designers, Bruno Munari, Armando Testa, Riccardo Manzi, Giulio Confalonieri, and Pino Tovaglia.
These are also the years of the Pirelli magazine, where articles of Ungaretti, Montale, Sciascia and Eco appeared, accompanied by Renato Guttuso illustrations.
Moreover, Pirelli also started a great cinematographic tradition, to boast in the two most typical channels of corporate communication, documentary and advertising films, which dates back to as early as the Twenties and Thirties.
Pirelli Stella Bianca.
Since 1890, Pirelli has been synonymous with high-performance tires. With the creation of the Ercole, which marked the start of a long history of sporting success, the excellence of Pirelli's products has been the concrete and visible result of the constant improvement of production processes, design methods and the use of materials.
From the Ercole to the pre-war Stella Bianca; from the Stelvio, workhorse of the motorised masses, to the innovative Cinturato of the 1950s to today's ultra-high-performance "run flat" models outfitted with pressure sensors: the history of product innovation at Pirelli is an impressively long one.
The Pirelli Cinturato.
Appearing for the first time in Pirelli advertising towards the mid-Fifties, its debut together with its stablemates the Stelvio and the Rolle was somewhat muted. Almost as if it was nothing more than another new product in the broad "Alpino" range of Pirelli tyres (that also included the Cisa and the Sempione). Subdued, with no underlining of its diversity. Which in truth was overwhelming…
Pirelli's approach to the fabric radial was known as the Cinturato or "Belted", after the fabric plies that effectively belted the radial carcass.
The fabric Cinturato - it had yet to be equipped with steel belts - was invented around 1951 and cautiously introduced to the market a couple of years later.
"Cautiously" because for the requirements of the average driver in the 1950s, the Cinturato was if anything too "advanced": much stiffer than conventional cross-ply tyres, it permitted exceptional roadholding even at high speed, although it did penalize comfort.
It was at least partly for this reason that Cinturato advertising of the time exclusively targeted sports cars and those drivers for whom speed and handling outweighed any bumps.
In 1955 it was in fact "the tyre for the Lancia Aurelia" or "for the Alfa Romeos": its sporting character had already been forged.
In the late Fifties and early Sixties, the Cinturato gradually became known as "the safest tyre for the most powerful cars", the one that "defeats centrifugal force" and that guarantees "cornering safety". And later it was also the tyre "for elegant cars".
A high-end positioning that was graphically emphasised by the magnificent advertising campaign photographed by Mulas in 1962, in which the tyre was once again paired with the female figure, as in the era of Dudovich.
However, Mulas's absorbed and self-possessed girls actually seem to suggest a new key to the reading of the Cinturato product image: no longer was it just about speed and power - male myths - but now also comprised safety and reliability, aspects appealing to the first generations of young female drivers…By no means coincidentally, Mulas's advertising campaign also included the "Sempione Safety Shoulder", the more reliable version of the conventional Sempione cross-ply range.
So as to avoid over-emphasising the safety aspect of the Cinturato at the expense of its sporting image, in 1965 Mulas trained his lenses on Juan Manuel Fangio too. "I once raced with the Pirelli Stelvio", said the Argentine World Champion in the advertising copy, "Today I've got the Cinturato on my car. It's a tyre that's truly different to the others. What's most surprising is the absolute driving precision. Extraordinary". The talented Riccardo Manzi was to return to the safety theme once more the following year for the "Andiamo sul sicuro" or "Let's go for safety" campaign, and he was himself followed by another genius (two geniuses in fact: as Arrigo Castellani was also involved): Pino Tovaglia who emphasised the Cinturato's dual nature with the "Un viaggio ma" or "A trip but" campaign highlighting the close ties between the pleasure of sporting driving and the tranquillity of absolute safety.
Much of the material on this website is copyrighted. Original articles appearing herein are subject to copyright. Please don't copy stuff from the site without asking; it may belong to someone! Any trademarks appearing on this site are the sole property of the registered owners. No endorsement by trademark owners is to be construed. The products, brand names, characters, related slogans and indicia are or may by claimed as trademarks of their respective owners. Every effort has been made whenever possible to credit the sources. The use of such material falls under the Fair Use provisions of intellectual property laws.