Vodafone‘s sponsorship targets in Formula One – Sonja Kreye

September 21, 2011

According to an interview from German website motorsport-total.com with Vodafone head of sponsorship Darag Persse, the most important target behind the Vodafone sponsorship commitment in Formula One is to interact with Formula One fans and Vodafone customers and to prove that the Vodafone communication services help the team in the championship: „Furthermore, we bring the Formula One passion to our customers. For us, it’s simply a great platform to talk and network, where we can show what we can.”

After having had a contract with Ferrari at first, Vodafone changed to McLaren in 2007: „At that time, Vodafone and Ferrari evaluated some possibilities to prolong the partnership beyond 2006. However, Ferrari wasn’t able to give us some suitable options.” So the mobile phone service provider changed to McLaren and Persse is more than sure: „The chance to become title sponsor of a successful Formula One team doesn’t open up every day.” And this is one of the reasons why the contract has already been prolonged until 2013, in order to create even more brand value.

All race related issues, however, still remain in the hands of the team: „We leave it up to McLaren who finally sits in the cockpit and brings the results. We don’t interfere in these types of decisions. The team is responsible for choosing the drivers and setting up the marketing strategy. However, we cooperate very intensively in order to help wherever possible.”

With regards to the activation of the sponsorship, however, Vodafone does not fail to bring in great ideas such as the “Vodafone VIP initiative” which gives customers access to the best of British festival, fashion and Formula 1 events. Vodafone VIP supplies customers with tickets and money can’t buy experiences. All Vodafone customers can register for Vodafone VIP by going online.

Part of the initiative was for example a fashion shoot, where McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton turned on the style with a British-themed fashion shoot in London for getting different photo material. But the bigger part of the program is the events, such as the run with the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 car through the streets of Manchester, to celebrate the sport and of course the sponsor services among a huge crowd.

The show run did not only include some laps with the F1 car on a Monday, but Vodafone customers and up to three of their friends vodafonewere given the chance to access VIP fan zone in Albert Square from Friday through Monday. The installation contained bespoke go kart track and a number of interactive F1 experiences including a pit stop challenge a sit in Vodafone McLaren Mercedes car, an F1 simulator and an exhibition of race suits and helmets. Throughout the weekend there was also a pit garage on the forecourt of the Hilton Deansgate in which customers could have garage tours.

All in all a great third party activation started by Vodafone and including the co-sponsors Hilton and Hugo Boss. The three day celebration was part of Vodafone’s initiative to give more people the chance to experience F1 first-hand. Previous Vodafone events had taken place in central London and at the McLaren Technology Centre in Surrey, so by staging this in the North West, Vodafone are looking to take the sport to a wider audience and reward as many of their customers as possible.

Sonja Kreye, Director , Germany – iSportconnect

Sonja Kreye is the Managing Director of iSportconnect German operations and she is a Sponsorship and PR Consultant and is working with customers that include tolimit Sport & Marketing, Publicis Kommunikationsagentur, Motorsport-Guide.com and Joest Racing Team. She is consulting her customers with regards to sponsorship concepts, sponsorship development and activation as well as with regards to public relations and communications. In her career, Sonja consulted and managed sponsorship concepts for brands such as DHL, Krombacher, Veltins, Sigma, Procter & Gamble and many more. Prior to her current role, Sonja was Business Relations Manager at Porsche and furthermore consulted Formula One race tracks such as Hockenheim, Shanghai and Magny Cours. She is furthermore an editor to various German motor sport and motor sport business magazines.

Sonja holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Media & Marketing from Steinbeis University Berlin, School of Management & Innovation

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