IWC became the Official Engineering Partner of Mercedes AMG Petrons F1 team at the start of the 2013 racing season and has confirmed its commitment until the end of the 2018 season. IWC Schaffhausen and AMG, the performance brand of Mercedes-Benz, laid the cornerstone for a long-term partnership as early as 2004. Their cooperation was founded on a mutual desire to explore the limits of mechanics and advanced technology. Today we are joined by Global Head of Sponsorship & Partnerships at IWC Schaffhausen, Yan Lefort, to learn about the updates of this solid and interesting business relationship.
Recently we have produced two special edition watches, which were developed with the new Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton and 2nd place winner Nico Rosberg. In other words, these drivers participated in the design and the choice of materials for their own watches, which was a very exciting process for us. Of course, we gave them a framework and guidelines but overall, these watches are very, very personal. The two models were launched in Singapore, ahead of the Singapore GP this year, and we used this opportunity to explain our relationship with the Mercedes F1 team and the drivers in more details, focusing on our shared values.
We have a pretty standard way to evaluate our sponsorship program and this is based on looking at the media value that is generated around the world. We divide the coverage we get from our presence in the sport and the value we generate from IWC-led initiatives, which are mainly driven by our local markets. However, our partnership operations go beyond Formula 1 and our relationship with Mercedes expands to activities with AMG and Mercedes Classic. We use the associations as product launch platforms and as a source for story telling content.
Our partnership operations go beyond Formula 1 and our relationship with Mercedes expands to activities with AMG and Mercedes Classic.
What could be done to improve the business relationship between Formula 1 teams and watch companies? Certainly, there is no easy answer, but I think that as long as you set clear objectives, the strategy and the execution come as a natural consequence. Therefore, if the relationship is not satisfying, it simply means that the preparation of the campaign was planned incorrectly. At IWC, we were blessed with a great relationship with Mercedes and the drivers – we work transparently and in a constructive way. There are some truly exceptional people at Mercedes and they are able to manage us, being very active and sometimes pretty demanding.
We are launching a new Portuguese collection during the SIHH in January, so our team is mainly focused on this project right now. However, in 2015, we will be launching a lot of new products and it will be an even busier year for us. Thankfully, we can handle it.
IWC has six different product families and we have a partnership platform for all of them. These platforms provide tangible universes providing us the relevant opportunities and content material for story telling that we leverage around each product. That is why we have as many different partnerships as we have product families. We can divide them in three categories: sport – the Volvo Ocean Race and Formula 1; environment – the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Cousteau Society; education – the St Exupery Foundation and the Laureus Sports For Good Foundation.
Additionally, IWC has partnership deals with local film festivals, such as Tribeca, Beijing, Dubai or the London Film Festivals. Our team is quite consistent as to how we activate these associations, but, in a nutshell, we use them to launch our products at a global level and provide our guests memorable and unique experiences at a local level.