The world of Formula 1 is a crazy place. The drivers make millions, the teams cost hundreds of millions to run, the sponsors sink hundreds of millions more, likely into the billions, TV rights astronomical and at every stop along the tour fans pour money into local economies (not that Abu Dhabi needs an injection of cash…).
But why bother? Sure, in Europe this series has a fervent following, but how do you measure your returns for this when you are a team sponsor and you’re not being paid out in prize winnings?
Simple answer: Exposure. But there are many more benefits to be gleaned from this prestigious association, and we spent a morning talking to Infiniti executives about how they leveraged the Formula 1 campaign and its attendant exposure.
What I found the most fascinating was what the team learned from measuring their on-air exposure. Tommaso Volpe, Director for Infiniti Global Marketing and Infiniti’s Formula 1 team, disclosed that their on-air exposure of the Infiniti branding on the car itself was valued at an astronomical $2 billion worth of exposure (measured by a third party breaking down screen time and placement). Careful placement of the Infiniti logo, most prominently on the side pod of the swoopy car, but also right in front of the driver’s head (which is highly visible in driver-perspective shots), on the helmet, and on the top, back and sides of the rear wing mean it is almost always visible whenever the Red Bull cars are on screen.
But here’s the kicker: This $2 billion figure is highest ever in the sport, and higher even than during Red Bull Racing’s run of four world championships, for which Infiniti showed perfect timing in coming on board in 2011 for the beginning of that run, then becoming title sponsor in 2013. Turns out, it pays to be in the pack, battling it out for position rather than just jumping out from pole position and coasting throughout the race as Lewis Hamilton did in this year’s Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. But hey, it never hurts to be associated with a winner, so obviously Volpe and team would rather be on the top step of the podium and see if they can still increase their exposure while winning.
This is also just the tip of the iceberg in terms of exposure. Ads on track, in the paddock and around the fan viewing areas, TV commercials, articles and ads in the official program and countless other spots mean that the branding on the car itself is roughly just 10 percent of the overall exposure for the Infiniti brand owing to their title sponsorship of the Red Bull Racing team.