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

Aversa, P. ORCID: 0000-0003-3175-9477, Schreiter, K. & Guerrini, F. (2021). The birth of a business icon through cultural branding: Ferrari and the Prancing Horse, 1923 - 1947. Enterprise and Society: the international journal of business and history, pp. 1-31. doi: 10.1017/eso.2021.22


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 towards Baracca’s persona. Drawing on 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 transfer 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.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been published in a revised form in Enterprise and Society: The International Journal of Business History This version is published under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND. No commercial re-distribution or re-use allowed. Derivative works cannot be distributed. © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Business History Conference. All rights reserved
Publisher Keywords: Cultural branding; Consumer Culture; Strategic repurposing; Icons; Ferrari; Prancing Horse; World War I; Francesco Baracca; Logo; Fascism; Motorsport
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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