Hype & glamour:Riding the F1 wave
Malaysia - Recently, Reuters reported that CVC Capital Partners, a private equity firm that owns 63.4% of Formula One (F1), is considering a stock market listing, which could value the company at more than US$10 billion.
An event synonymous with glamour and excitement, F1 has long been an event that has seen a host of brands associated with the sport. In Malaysia, the brands that ride on the F1 event include Puma, Pavilion, AirAsia, Petronas and Tiffany & Co.
With the races kicking off today and F1 fever at its peak in Malaysia, A+M asks experts on how brands have integrated the sport into their marketing efforts.
"F1 is associated with technology, so any corporate or product brand that want to strengthen brand health parameters related to ‘technology', ‘future-oriented' or ‘global brand' will benefit from this association," says Girish Menon, CEO, GroupM Malaysia.
However, Menon points out that FMGC brands are starting to associate themselves with the sports, citing Unilever's Rexona and Clear brands as examples.
With this, he added the brand association was not so much with the technology as much as it was an opportunity to target its key consumer segments as the association creates engagement in a high-affinity environment.
The sport's pull factor was it being at the forefront of automotive technology with spectators being able to view all aspects of the cars' performance which are mapped using software and analysed in real-time.
"In fact, the whole concept of ‘fast data' and ‘real-time adaptive action', which today have become buzzwords in marketing, has been prevalent in F1 for several years now. Eventually, almost every single F1 technology will find its way into cars on the road a few years down the line," Menon says.
All this, together with the high-society attraction and glam, is what makes F1 so appealing to consumers.
The glamour and hype of F1 has been something retail mall Pavilion has been riding on with its Pavilion Pit Stop during the event, said Kung Suan Ai, director of marketing, Pavilion KL.
"In every great festival or event, there must be brand awareness, buzz, engagement and experience - all traits that F1 has. F1 is not merely about the race, but also about the lifestyle-the cars, teams, and lifestyle events such as fashion parties and concerts," she says.
Kung added that its partnerships with race teams and sponsors were essential in having a successful campaign.
"In 2011, we worked with Red Bull Racing team and they organised the Speed Street KL where Red Bull F1 car had a demo race on Jalan Bukit Bintang, a first for Malaysia. The mall enjoyed high traffic and the F1 energy was felt throughout the mall and Bukit Bintang as a whole."
Sports brand Puma has been involved in the races since 2005, where it had been the official apparel for Ferrari.
"Starting this year, we became the exclusive licensing partner to Mercedes GP, Petronas and are now the official supplier of team apparels and race wear for BMW as well. So we are partnering three very strong teams in the F1 race," said Sheryl Wong, general manager for Puma Sports Singapore & Sports Goods Malaysia.
For this year's races, PUMA set up the Red Cube, a new F1 pop-up store concept outside Pavilion which showcases the range of PUMA's latest F1 products.
"F1 is very much a spectator sport, with high speed and action that make it very exciting to watch. The race car drivers are often the aspiration of many fans so consumers like to wear products such as apparel, caps and even footwear to show their support for their teams." said Wong, adding that during the race period they usually see higher store traffic.
However even though F1 is an annual event, Menon hasn't seen prices of media spaces going up during the F1 season.
"In general, I find the publicity around F1 in Malaysia to be quite limited. There is some excitement in the KLCC or Bangsar area, but it doesn't really envelope the city or capture the imagination of the residents of KL as much as it should."
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