The birth of a business icon through cultural branding: Ferrari and the Prancing Horse, 1923 - 1947

Paolo Aversa, Katrin Schreiter, Filippo Guerrini

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Abstract

This article examines the origin of the Prancing Horse symbol and its role in helping the racing team Ferrari survive under the fascist regime in Italy. Enzo Ferrari, the company's founder, adopted the coat of arms of Francesco Baracca, the most renowned Italian military aviator during World War I, as the logo of his new racing team. By repurposing it from military aviation to motorsport, he benefitted from powerful cultural associations and strong political and cultural endorsement of Baracca's persona. Drawing from scholarship on cultural branding and consumer culture, this study shows how new companies can establish powerful business icons by borrowing symbols connected to populist worlds and national ideologies, and transferring them to various industries. Strategic repurposing thus emerges as a distinct process within cultural branding to obtain institutional support and establish powerful brand identities in challenging contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-58
Number of pages31
JournalEnterprise and Society
Volume24
Issue number1
Early online date26 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Cultural branding
  • Strategic repurposing
  • Icons
  • Prancing Horse
  • World War I
  • Fascism
  • Motorsport
  • Francesco Baracca
  • Ferrari
  • Consumer Culture
  • Logo

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