Innovation in activation


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“Passion”. It’s a word you’ll often hear as brands trumpet the launch of their new F1 sponsorships. “We plan to our tap into fans’ passion for Formula 1”, the press release often reads. Sounds good in theory…

But a year later, after a burst of advertising, some Paddock Club hospitality, a series of social media content initiatives and a few ‘money can’t buy’ competitions, how many marketing directors can honestly say they struck the magic sweet-spot of audience engagement that can make Formula 1 sponsorship so valuable?


Content marketing is one of the tools that more and more innovative brands are embracing to bring their Formula 1 sponsorship to life. Creating stories that entertain. That informs. That enhance a fan’s enjoyment of the sport they love. Whilst integrating their brand’s values and messaging.

Sponsors can employ a variety of excellent production companies who can create a video and post it on social media. But that won’t deliver the eyeballs that sponsors crave.

The likes of Johnnie Walker, SAP and UPS are leading the way, creating genuinely entertaining TV shows and videos that broadcasters air and fans share on social media.

These aren’t adverts or “pr puff” videos. These are high-quality pieces of content that creatively make the most of a brands’ “sponsor assets” – interview time with drivers and key team members, pre-season testing footage – and are crafted into original stories that entertain or enlighten Formula 1 fans.

Creating these features is half the battle. These days sponsors can employ a variety of excellent production companies who can create a video and post it on social media. But that won’t deliver the eyeballs that sponsors crave.


The key to success is creating content with a distribution plan in mind. Knowing that what you create will tap into that elusive ½ billion audiences of Formula 1 fans out there. Knowing what broadcasters or fans want and in what format, helps inform what one should create. And gives the sponsor assurance that their investment in content will deliver the returns they anticipate.

We specialise in helping sponsors craft these stories into videos that deliver that sought-after global reach. Working closely with the Formula 1 broadcasters to make sure that these brand-funded videos have the editorial quality to earn media, to earn placement in their pre-race shows with branding that is editorially justified.

Get it right and you have the potential to hit a 30-40 million-plus audience per race in a far more engaging manner than a sponsor logo zooming past at 150 mph will ever be able to.

And the ability to hit the jackpot of the mass audience millions of TV can be complemented with the potential to tightly target the thousands through digital distribution.


Recently, Williams Martini Racing sponsor Hackett provided a great example of how to create a video ideal for sharing on social media.

It created a stylish video announcing its partnership with the Williams F1 team. This one-minute feature focused on a pit stop with a difference. Backed by a glorious sound-track, this high-production-value video showed what happens when the Williams pit crew swap their fire suits for fitted suits. It oozes cool. It fits the positioning of the Williams team. And it spread the word about Hackett’s association with Formula 1 in a manner that connected with fans.

Audiences of social media generally look for two things in a video. Does it entertain me? And will it increase my ‘social status’ (“will I look cooler?”) if I share it with my friends? This Hackett video ticked both boxes, and within a week the video had racked up over 500,000 views amongst the fashion and Formula 1 community.

And don’t think that content marketing is just for consumer-facing brands. B2B brands can create videos specifically for digital media that exploits its unique ability to target niche audiences.

Want your video to reach CEOs and COOs, with an interest in technology-based in USA and Asia? Digital distribution empowers brands to use laser-like targeting methods. B2B brands, with a more complex message, can now embrace a ‘quality rather than quantity’ approach, telling stories that appeal to a tight audience of potential buyers, rather than the great mass of Formula 1 fans.

Content marketing offers an innovative way for brands to creatively unlock how they activate their F1 sponsorship rights. Get it right, tell stories that enhance fans’ passion for the sport they love and there is the potential for huge returns.

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