WhatsApp and Mercedes-AMG F1 Team Join Forces for Empire State Building Takeover to Celebrate U.S. Growth

WhatsApp and Mercedes-AMG F1 Team lit up the Empire State Building green and launched a new race car emoji to celebrate its rapid growth in the United States. The company announced double-digit growth in both daily users and messages sent on WhatsApp in the U.S., a testament to the platform’s popularity and relevance in the country.

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WhatsApp released the new custom race car emoji that over two billion users can use immediately in their chats, just in time for the Miami Grand Prix this coming weekend. Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 driver Lewis Hamilton and CEO and Team Principal Toto Wolff together flipped the Empire State Building’s famous light switch and turned the building’s iconic tower lights a bright WhatsApp green. A dynamic light followed the lighting show takeover of the building’s facade, which featured an animated projection of the new emoji racing through New York City.

The celebration continues when WhatsApp and Mercedes-AMG F1 bring the emoji to life as it shuts down Fifth Avenue for the first-ever demonstration of a Formula One car in Manhattan. The event will be led by none other than Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 driver Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time World Champion, who will be at the wheel of the speed demo, which will take place alongside a life-sized replica of the emoji race car.

Will Cathcart, Head of WhatsApp, said: 

Year after year, WhatsApp has gained solid ground in the U.S. because people want a private and secure way to communicate across platforms. WhatsApp is the best way to chat about a race with friends around the world, and within the U.S., we’re excited to celebrate this growth with Mercedes and the Empire State Building.

Toto Wolff, CEO and Team Principal, Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team, added: 

In recent years, our sport and WhatsApp have been on an impressive growth journey in the United States. Therefore, the partnership between WhatsApp, our official messaging partner, and us as a team is a natural fit. We rely daily on WhatsApp for the privacy and security it affords in our communications, which is vital in F1. WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption ensures that our conversations remain private and secure, a feature that we value greatly.

We are also passionate about connecting people through shared experiences, committed to telling incredible stories and setting the benchmark in our respective fields. The anticipation is palpable as we gear up for the first stateside Grand Prix this year. We are thrilled to celebrate our collaboration with several iconic moments and New York City activations that will spark conversations.

Lewis Hamilton said: 

I’ve always felt a special connection with the United States. I remember going to New York as a kid and dreaming about living there, and I’ve been fortunate to have spent a lot of time here since then. I’ve had many incredible experiences and connected with many amazing people in New York, but to drive an F1 car down Fifth Avenue and light up the Empire State Building is incredibly special. It’s something I never thought possible, and it’s been even better to do it in partnership with WhatsApp, an app that keeps my connection to the U.S. alive by making it easy to stay in touch with so many people stateside.

Rounding off two days of celebrations following the launch of a new race car emoji, Lewis, the team, and our Official Messaging Partner WhatsApp took over Fifth Avenue in New York City for a thrilling demonstration run. The run, a first-ever live demonstration of an F1 car in Manhattan, was a sight to behold. The car, driven by Lewis Hamilton, was joined by a life-sized version of the recently launched emoji race car, adding to the excitement of the event.

The seven-time World Champion got behind the wheel of W12 and was joined by a life-sized version of the recently launched emoji race car. The run marked the first-ever live demonstration of an F1 car in Manhattan and WhatsApp’s double-digit growth in the U.S.

Lewis said: 

That was epic! I have always dreamed of driving an F1 car down Fifth Avenue in New York City. It was fantastic seeing the crowds and everyone’s excitement. It is incredible to do something like this, especially considering the remarkable history of this city.

Thank you to WhatsApp and the Empire State Building for making it possible. I use WhatsApp to communicate with all my family and friends and stay in touch when we travel the world. I’ll always remember to collaborate with them on a day like this.

Toto added: 

I’ve done many events in the past 12 years, but this tops it all. Seeing Fifth Avenue shut down for a Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team car to run was spectacular. That is true even by New York standards!

It is fantastic to be able to do this to celebrate our partnership with WhatsApp and showcase our relationship. WhatsApp is our default communication tool; it is end-to-end encrypted and safe. It is vital for our team, and our partnership is a natural fit.

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