Pirelli celebrates its 150th anniversary

The events celebrating the anniversary of the industrial group established in Milan on 28 January 1872 are under way

Home life Pirelli celebrates its 150th anniversary
Pirelli celebrates its 150th anniversary

A worldwide countdown, a play, an advert, a coin, a stamp, a special issue of World magazine, a 3D website implementing the latest digital innovations and Pattern podcasts. These are just some of the actions that Pirelli is putting together to celebrate 150 years of corporate history that touches on the many areas of involvement of the brand spanning from F1, rally racing, Superbike and pro cycling, to ski championships and football, through the partnerships and the endorsements that have accompanied Pirelli along the way.

The celebrations started in style on the stage of the Piccolo Teatro in Milan with a show that brought together the accounts, voices and images of many decades of history of industry, costume, technology and dedication that began on 28 January 1872. The show was announced by a worldwide countdown and three sporting events, which took place the weekend before the celebrations and pivoted on the 150th-anniversary logo, unveiled last November for Bryan Adams’ Pirelli Calendar photoshoot.

Three sporting events

The car that drove the opening lap of the Monte Carlo Rally, the first event of the WRC season, sported the colours celebrating Pirelli’s 150th anniversary. Head of Pirelli Motorsport Mario Isola and former World Rally Champion Petter Solberg were in the Kimera Evo37. The 150th-anniversary logo made an appearance at the San Siro stadium for the Inter Milan-Venezia football match and on the slopes and bibs of the Ski World Cup. The Downhill and Super G events were won by two Italian athletes, Sofia Goggia and Elena Curtoni, both sponsored by Pirelli. Celebrations through Pirelli sponsorships will continue all year long.

The worldwide countdown

The show at the Piccolo Teatro was announced by an international countdown that started on 24 January in Rio De Janeiro and continued over the following days with a 3D animation that lit up the 180 metres of the CITI Tower in Shanghai and the Nasdaq Tower in Times Square in New York to end in Milan with a projection on Palazzo Venezia in Piazza Cordusio. The 3D video of a tyre running down a slope and stopping just before flying off the screen shown in New York and Milan perfectly expresses the “Pirelli Power is nothing without control” payoff, while a 3D animation displayed the logo and the best wishes for the 150th anniversary in Shanghai.

The event on the stage of the Piccolo Teatro

“What an original sketch, don’t you think? Just look at that P... It appears elastic, even rubbery”. These are the words that kicked off the celebrations for Pirelli’s 150th anniversary at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan on 28 January 2022. The most significant moments were narrated by journalist and writer Ferruccio De Bortoli, Formula 1 chairman and CEO Stefano Domenicali, journalist and essayist Paolo Mieli, architect Renzo Piano, the Rector of the Milan Polytechnic, Ferruccio Resta and publicist and essayist Annamaria Testa. They were joined by Executive Vice President and CEO, Marco Tronchetti Provera and Alberto Pirelli to witness the lasting bond between the family and the company.

The event, hosted by TV presenter Ilaria D’Amico, recounted three centuries lived by Pirelli through what distinguishes it most: its international dimension, its factories, its relationship with culture and artists, its creativity in communications, its presence in sports and motorsports, its constant search for innovation and cutting-edge technology.

“Today, we wanted to take a journey through history together and look into the future. Anticipating change is what Pirelli has been doing for 150 years, strong of its corporate culture and its ability to always be a protagonist of the present. These elements have allowed us to reach this milestone with a brand that is established worldwide. We felt it was important to share this story with our city, our country and all the international players and communities with which we relate day after day. A special thank-you goes to all the 30,000 people at Pirelli who build our history every day”, declared Pirelli Executive Vice President & CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera.

The advert

A new advertising campaign aired in primetime on the main Italian television stations and was launched on print, digital and social media to celebrate Pirelli’s 150th anniversary. The visionary and metaphorical tale offers a new take on the time-honoured “Power is nothing without control” payoff and invites viewers to reflect on the two complementary yet opposite concepts.

Technology and social media have put power in the hands of many people but it can run away and turn into chaos in the blink of an eye. More than ever we need to be aware that power needs control, in everyday life and not just on the road. Shot in Barcelona, directed by Manson, produced by Utopia and with the creative direction of M&C Saatchi, the advert is planned to appear worldwide on digital channels. 

The website

The innovative website at offers a digital take of the 150th anniversary and takes visitors on a journey into a virtual world that is fully accessible online and navigable in 3D. Created and produced in partnership with Publicis Sapient, “House of Pirelli” uses the immersive codes typical of gaming in an innovative experience of exploration and in-depth analysis across four virtual rooms dedicated to “Product and Research & Development”, “Sustainability”, “Sport”, “Art & Culture”. The three-dimensional environments present the products of yesterday and today, the sustainability pledge, the activities in sports competitions and the artistic and cultural initiatives starting with the Pirelli Calendar.

The graphic novel

The graphic novel To retrace its history, Pirelli has re-edited its graphic novel in a reduced but updated version, a sort of company profile 4.0 created with different styles and techniques ranging from illustrations to motion graphic design. The project was carried out drawing on the material kept in the archives of the Pirelli Foundation and on the careful historical reconstruction made by Professor Carlo Bellavite Pellegrini in his book "Pirelli. Innovation and passion ", published by Il Mulino, also in a new edition. In about nine minutes, the abridged version traces the history of Pirelli from 1872, the year of its foundation, to today, touching on its most significant stages.

A special issue of World magazine

A special edition of “World”, the company magazine that since 1994 has revamped the legacy of the Pirelli magazine published from 1948 to 1972, is dedicated to the 150th anniversary. The issue features 26 words, one for each letter of the alphabet, chosen for their meaning, their powerfulness and their ability to tell the story of Pirelli. Each word is explored with a novel interpretation with the contribution of illustrators, authors, essayists and novelists.

Stamps and coins

The Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato presented the new “Eccellenze Italiane” (“Italian Excellences”) Numismatic Collection with a triptych of commemorative gold and silver coins dedicated to the Pirelli Group. A commemorative stamp dedicated to Pirelli was issued on 28 January 2022 as part of the “Eccellenze del sistema produttivo ed economico” (“Excellences of Manufacturing and Economy”) series.

Patterns podcasts

The podcast series explores the experiences of some of the people who come into contact with Pirelli during their lives. The series is called Patterns to celebrate those who have left their mark in their respective areas, the men and women who overcame not one but two challenges, who stumbled and picked themselves up and went on to become global symbols. People like athlete Carl Lewis, who starred in the “Power is nothing without control” campaign for Pirelli, footballer Ronaldo, dancer Misty Copeland and Sophia Loren, both of whom were featured in the Pirelli Calendar, photographer Steve McCurry and drivers as Troy Bayliss and Tony Cairoli.

Other activities

A series of activities dedicated to the 150th anniversary kick off today with the 12 countries where Pirelli has an industrial presence as the main focus. Projects and events that will feed the story throughout 2022 through sports sponsorships, starting from Formula 1, corporate appointments, cultural events and new product launches.

One of the most anticipated projects for spring will be the publication, by the Pirelli Foundation, of the book “Una storia al futuro. Pirelli, 150 years of industry, innovation, culture” (History of the Future. Pirelli, 150 Years of Industry, Innovation and Culture”). Published by Marsilio in Italian and English, the book contains official contributions by the Italian Minister of University and Research Maria Cristina Messa, the Rectors of the Milan and Turin Polytechnics, Ferruccio Resta and Guido Saracco, leading international and Italian writers and personalities from the world of research, art and culture, such as Renzo Piano and Salvatore Accardo. The editorial project will be developed on the web platform linked to the site dedicated to the 150th anniversary and will also feature a timeline that traces the key events of the company from 1872 to the present day with unpublished virtual tours and a section dedicated to the new “When History Builds the Future” exhibition at the Pirelli Foundation.

The account of the most recent years is told in a new edition of the book “Pirelli, Innovation and Passion” by Carlo Bellavite Pellegrini, published by Il Mulino.

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