Ferrari Threatens to Sue for "Distasteful" Instagram Photos

Martin Bigg - August 05, 2019

Turns out Ferrari doesn’t want to be associated with some of its customer's lavish lifestyles.

Supercar owners tend to have luxury lifestyles. Case in point: visit Philip Plein’s Instagram page, a rich German fashion designer who has 1.8 million followers, and you’ll find hundreds of photos showing off exotic cars, expensive clothes, and bikini-clad women.

The fashion designer can also be seen posing next to his exotic car collection, which includes a Lamborghini Urus, Rolls-Royce Cullinan, and a green Ferrari 812 Superfast. However, it turns out Ferrari isn’t very happy about being associated with his lavish lifestyle because the exotic automaker fears it could damage its brand image.


In a recent Instagram post, Plein says he received an angry letter from Ferrari’s lawyers ordering him to remove some of the photos because it "tarnishes the reputation of Ferrari’s brands.” One of the offending photos shows a pair of his designer shoes placed on the rear window of his 812 Superfast just above the Ferrari logo. Ferrari is also threatening legal action if he doesn’t comply with the request within 48 hours.

"Ferrari’s trademarks and model cars are associated in your pictures with a lifestyle totally inconsistent with Ferrari’s brand perception, in connection with performers making sexual innuendos and using Ferrari’s cars as props in a manner which is per se distasteful,” the letter reads. "The behavior tarnishes the reputation of Ferrari’s brands and causes Ferrari further material damage. In fact, the undesired connection between Ferrari’s trademarks on the one hand, and Philipp Plein’s line of shoes (and the questionable manner in which they are promoted) on the other hand, is interfering negatively with the rights enjoyed by the Ferrari’s selected licenses.”


At the time of writing, Plein hasn’t removed any of the photos and 48 hours have already passed since the letter was received. Unsurprisingly, the fashion designer wasn’t impressed with Ferrari’s actions. "Can’t even put in words how disappointed and disgusted I am about this unfair and totally inappropriate claim against me personally,” he wrote.

"Obviously I love cars and ESPECIALLY FERRARI!!!! I bought my first FERRARI 10 years ago and recently I bought a Ferrari for my mother as her birthday gift !!!! I think it is absolutely ridiculous as a good client to receive such a letter from a company like FERRARI !!! This message goes out to the CEO Louis Carey Camilleri of FERRARI!! If you want to continue treating your loyal clients with such letters from your lawyers you will lose the support from many FERRARI FANS.”

Ferrari is perhaps being a tad naive if it doesn’t think this is the type of customer its exotic cars attract. We’ll have to wait and see if there are grounds for a lawsuit here, but this is certainly going to be an interesting case to follow.