Marketing after party


We sit down for an after-the-USA-GP chat with Ginger Leigh, Executive Producer and Marketing Director of Formula VIP Events, a company providing luxury and high octane entertainment surrounding races in Austin.


The USA Grand Prix and the “Blu at the W” party went off without problems this year! Now that the chaos of the opening two years has passed, it seemed as though not only my team, but the entire city was more prepared, more relaxed, and the outcome resulted in the parties being top-notch and at ease.

The client profile isn’t changing that much, actually – we still had the who’s who of Austin, the highest-end Formula 1 fans, celebrities and global guests. Our clientele, perhaps, has increased in the number of Mexican businessmen who joined us and I did notice quite a few more Europeans this year. We did, however, this year throw the Official Red Bull After Party, which is certainly a new and younger crowd to visit us on the 2nd floor at the W.

I have heard disappointment that the circuit has not been as community-driven as many had hoped, leaving quite a few companies feeling abandoned.

The US of A

Certainly, with the Circuit of the Americas hosting Formula 1 in Austin, much of the American motorsports world is ignited with a new excitement regarding Formula 1 specifically, which must have a ripple effect to other types of motor racing in the US. It feels as though Formula 1 now has opened the eyes of many Americans to recognise the motorsport world and to take note of the technology, the athleticism, and the social life surrounding this genre of sport.

I would like to see more marketing efforts done by COTA and Formula 1, not just in Texas, but all over the US. During year 1, our Formula VIP Events team did a great deal of local and national marketing. In June of 2012, we produced the Formula Expo at our convention center, working closely with COTA, to educate over 15,000 Americans about Formula 1. We implemented a lot of of city marketing, having visited every downtown condo building with a presentation about the sport and the lifestyle that comes with it. It’s these types of efforts that help locals understand that Formula 1 isn’t just about speed, bling and wealth. It’s about incredible craftsmanship and science. It’s about technology equal to that of fighter jets, it’s about precision and discoveries that usually end up being used in daily automobile life. And then, of course, it is about the after parties!

Americans are starting to become more aware of Formula 1, but I believe the track and the management could educate and market more on a nation level – that would result in the fanaticism seen all over the globe. However, I still must say that COTA is doing a fabulous job at the track for 3 years in a row of hosting Formula 1, and we all couldn’t be more thankful for that.

The business side

Companies like ours, based locally, must have close relationships with the circuit itself. Since Formula 1 moves in and out of the city quickly, it is the relationship with the track that needs to be the focus. Formula VIP Events and “Blu at the W” developed a strong business relationship with COTA, as mentioned before, in terms of the Formula Expo. Since year 1, however, I have noticed the Austin business community expressing frustration that the circuit hasn’t embraced and supported local businesses as much as people would like. Austin is a community-oriented place, it has always embraced growth and development while making sure to maintain a “let’s working together” attitude.

The business and lifestyle of having a high-end motorsports circuit is a very new aspect to Austin. Our local business community was ready to embrace this and work together, however, in multiple discussions, I have heard disappointment that the circuit has not been as community-driven as many had hoped, leaving quite a few companies feeling abandoned.

Local businesses like our plan to come together and create a collective voice with which we can communicate more strongly with the circuit to express our needs more boldly. Of course, one can never look a gift horse in the mouth and forget that Formula 1 brings a massive economic boost to Austin, which certainly has a positive effect on business all around.

As for the near future, I think we all just need to rest and regroup! After a third successful year, we now know better what visitors and locals really look forward to. We will take all the strong relationships that we have developed and we will begin planning an even stronger 2015 season. For now, perhaps, we just need to take a trip to a beach and rest up after what was an intense 2014 experience.

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