For 25 years the slogan “Power is Nothing Without Control” has identified Pirelli worldwide. In this anniversary year, the company has dedicated the 2018 edition of its Annual Report to the famous phrase. Once again keeping up its tradition of using the budget document to illustrate a year of corporate history going beyond the numbers.
The “Power is Nothing Without Control” slogan was first used in the company’s successful advertising campaign that showed American athlete Carl Lewis as a sprinter on the starting blocks wearing soon-to-be-legendary red stilettos. The photo was taken by Annie Leibovitz in Texas in 1994 and became an icon of advertising creativity. It conveys a message that has stood the test of time because it is anchored in the essence of the product (tyres), but at the same time escapes the confines of the physical. In life, as in your car, “Power is Nothing Without Control”.
In Pirelli’s 2018 Annual Report, a video, a collection of photographs and three internationally-acclaimed writers offer different interpretations of the slogan from contrasting points of view, all with an emphasis on the search for balance between the forces of power and control.
What the slogan means today
Adam Greenfield, Lisa Halliday and J R Moehringer, the three writers involved in the Pirelli 2018 Annual Report project, explore their personal ideas of power and control through three worlds that are core to Pirelli’s DNA, namely technology, culture and sport.
Adam Greenfield’s article Standing in the Way of Control focuses on technology, asserting that “the distinction between power and control ranks among the central challenges of our time. Our Promethean technologies offer us more and more power by the day, but the plain fact is that we haven’t yet learned how to control them.”
In her essay Hurrying Slowly, dedicated to art and culture, Lisa Halliday writes: “Art is a journey, a distance travelled by the consciousness. This is true for both artist and viewer, performer and audience, writer and reader. The power that propels such a journey is nothing without control because control is what harnesses artistic potential and directs it.”
While in The Control of the Power focused on sport, J R Moehringer writes: “We all make the mistake now and then of thinking the great athletes, actors, painters, doctors, entrepreneurs, et al., are gifted with special powers. In fact everyone has special powers. The ones who succeed are the ones who find ways of achieving durable, consistent control over their powers.”
The essence of power and control
Alongside these writings, Young & Rubicam, the agency that 25 years ago created the advertising campaign featuring Carl Lewis, has made a video in which “power” is shown as the inner force that drives humans to go further and “control” is seen as the indispensable element required to reach every destination.
Meanwhile a photo gallery enriches the printed edition of the Annual Report with illustrations of the concept of “power” as more than simple force. Instead it can be a kiss, an idea, a colour, a smile or even a simple word.