Pirelli rang in 150 years and is reaffirming its commitment to growth during a series of events that will take place this year. It started with a countdown that began in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and continued in other key markets for Pirelli – including Shanghai and New York City – and ended in Milan on Jan. 28, where a ceremony at the Piccolo Teatro of Milan officially kicked off the milestone. During the ceremony, speakers honored the legacy of the company in a series of performances that paid homage to its industry, culture, tradition, technology and passion that began in 1872, Pirelli says.
While the celebration marked the start of Pirelli’s 150th-anniversary celebration, the company is also commemorating its sesquicentennial with a new ad campaign launched across a variety of platforms, new digital projects, the issuance of a stamp and commemorative coins as it reflects on the technology it has produced and where it plans to go in the future.
“Anticipating change is what Pirelli has done for 150 years thanks to the solidity of its entrepreneurial culture and ability to be a protagonist of the present,” said Marco Tronchetti Provera, executive vice chairman and CEO of Pirelli. “These things have allowed us to reach this milestone with a brand established around the world. We felt it important to share this story with our city, our country and all the international groups and communities that we work with every day. A thank you to all the 30,000 people who every day at Pirelli build our history.”
In preparation for its 150th celebration, the company unveiled a new logo last November at the launch of the 2022 Pirelli Calendar by Bryan Adams. The logo was featured recently at the Montecarlo Rally, where it decorated the car that completed the inaugural lap of the track. This year, the logo will continue to be seen via Pirelli sponsorships throughout the whole year.
As part of the countdown to its 150th, the company displayed its new logo internationally, from projecting it with its new advertising campaign across 600 feet of the CITI Tower in Shanghai to a 3D animation on the Times Square Nasdaq Tower in New York as well as showcasing the logo on the Palazzo Venezia in Milan.
At Milan’s Piccolo Teatro for Pirelli’s anniversary kickoff, four actors told the story of Pirelli with images, videos and photographs of the past and present with speakers who revisited the company’s milestones. The speakers included: Ferruccio De Bortoli, a well-known Italian journalist; Paolo Mieli, Italian journalist and editor of Italy’s leading newspaper, Corriere della Sera; Stefano Domenicali, CEO of the Formula 1 Group; Renzo Piano, famous Italian architect; Ferruccio Resta, Ferruccio Resta, chairman of the governing board of the Polytechnic University of Milan; and Annamaria Testa, Italian creative communications strategist. Speakers were joined by Tronchetti Provera.
Speakers also touched on the company’s industrial journey. Today, Pirelli boasts 19 production facilities, many of which feature state-of-the-art technology, such as artificial intelligence and robots, the company said.
Celebrating in Style
Pirelli’s new advertising campaign, launched Jan. 26 in TV, print and digital media, offers a re-interpretation of the payoff, “Power is nothing without control,” inviting people to reflect on two complementary and opposed concepts. According to Pirelli, the campaign symbolizes how individuals have enormous power thanks to technology and social media, but in a moment, they can lose control and chaos ensues. The campaign emphasizes that a person needs to be aware that power needs control, not only in life but also on the road. Filmed in Barcelona, the commercial is planned for primetime TV and digital channels internationally.
Pirelli has also updated its graphic novel, a company profile created with illustrations to motion graphic designs. The video, in a shortened version of around nine minutes, revisits the history of Pirelli from 1872 to today, touching on the company’s most significant moments, Pirelli says.
In addition, Italy’s Ministry of the Economy and Finance and the State Mint and Printworks debuted a new stamp collection, as part of its series “Eccellenza Italiane (Italian Excellence),” which will include a set of three celebratory coins in gold and silver dedicated to the Pirelli Group. A new stamp dedicated to Pirelli has also been issued.
Among other initiatives in 2022, Pirelli will organize a series of events dedicated to its 150th anniversary in the 12 countries in which it has factories, the company said. These include sports sponsorships, cultural events and new product launches. Among the main projects is the publication of the book “Thinking Ahead. Pirelli: 150 Years of Industry, Innovation and Culture” planned for the spring. The editorial project will be featured on the pirellibuildsthefuture.org web platform, linked to the dedicated 150 year site. There will also be an online exhibition through which visitors can review Pirelli’s 150 years through documents, technical drawings of the first tires, up to their virtualization, highlighting engineering achievements in R&D and other innovations.
The History of Pirelli
Founded by Giovanni Battista Pirelli at the age of 23, Pirelli initially produced insulators for telegraphs and cables that linked the most distant points of the newly born country of Italy. Over the years, the company grew and produced objects of everyday use from swimming caps to toys to raincoats and tires for wagons and bicycles. However, Pirelli’s history isn’t without obstacles. In the 1990s the company had failed mergers with Dunlop and Continental. In the 2000s, the plan to integrate networks and content in telecommunications through Telecom Italia was cut short by external interference. The company says it was able to overcome crises by focusing on its core business, which lead it to focus on tires.
The Art & Image of Pirelli
As most dealers know, Pirelli has always been at the forefront of art and culture. The company says it maintains a dialogue with artists and intellectuals to keep an eye on society, its evolution and changing customs. The company does this through Rivista Pirelli (Pirelli magazine), the Pirelli Calendar, Pirelli HangarBicocca, publications and exhibitions of the Fondazione Pirelli, products of Pirelli Design, World magazine and the volumes of its annual report that contain contributions from artists and writers. One of the most iconic works of art associated with the company is the Pirelli logo itself, which features a long P that stretches as if it were rubber. Pirelli says throughout its history, it has continued to facilitate a dialogue between industry and contemporary art, sport, photography and music.
Another aspect of Pirelli has been its investment in and support of motorsports. The company has been involved in motorsports since the 1970s and is present in over 350 motorsport competitions today. Domenicali, current Formula 1 CEO, detailed the company’s motorsport history up to today, in which it announced it would use 18-in. tires in this year’s Formula 1 events.
R&D and Innovation
During its 150th anniversary celebration, Pirelli chronicled its evolution in technology with its eye on the future. The legacy of Italian engineer Luigi Emanueli, who signed many of the 6,700 patents registered by Pirelli, continues today with the 2,000 people who work in R&D for the company, Pirelli says. It is also keeping research and innovation top of mind with its collaborations with leading universities (over 50), including Politecnico di Milano.
The company said its current innovations, include the Pirelli Elect, a package of technological solutions ad hoc to handle the different weight, acceleration and consumption of electric vehicles compared with traditional vehicles. The company also introduced new connected products like the Cyber Tyre, with sensors that supply real-time information to the driver. Because technologies evolve and virtualization accelerates R&D, Pirelli said its tires are also now created in the digital world to design and produce products that are safe, high performing and sustainable. The company said sustainability is key to its innovation, with Pirelli producing what it has said is the world’s first FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified tire, which means the tire’s supply chain is 100% sustainable.
For the digital story of Pirelli’s 150 years, go to www.pirelli.com/150years. The site features four virtual rooms dedicated to product and R&D, sustainability, sport and arts and culture.