Is there really no such thing as bad publicity? Here are some F1 publicity ideas that didn’t match up with the Golden Rules of Marketing and should have stayed on the brain-storming whiteboard.
1. “Choose messages that reinforce your brand image”
Skoal Bandit Ram 1984; Formula One – think glamour, think wealth, think style, think success, think Monaco and Milan, think chewing tobacco pouches? Spittoon anyone?
2. “Be patient – don’t expect overnight success”
Mastercard Lola Ford 1997 – Sign a four year contract with an established racing car manufacturer; hire the 1995 F3000 champion and runner up; fly them all 8 thousand miles to the other side of the planet; complete qualifying a whopping 5 seconds off of the pace; instantly give up. Priceless.
3. “Use your heritage to create recognition”
Jaguar Racing 2000-2004: “The Cat is Back!” No, the cat is at the back.
4. “Create anticipation”
Arrows GP “T-Minus” campaign 1999 – “T-Minus 10, 9, 8, etc.”, the sidepods of the Arrows announced the countdown each day until “T-Minus – 0” and, er, nothing.
5. “Over deliver on your promises”
British American Racing 1999 – Team principal Craig Pollok: “A win in our first grand Prix – why not?” Alternatively, you could have both cars retire with gearbox failure and fail to score a single point during your entire first season.
6. “Maintain dignity – no cheap gimmicks”
Red Bull Superman movie promotion Monaco 2006: “Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s a Roger Ramjet lookalike in a Superman cape on the Monaco podium. At least David Coulthard had the decency to look embarrassed.
7. “An ethical approach will build trust and loyalty”
Honda myearthdream 2007: Nothing says “environmental awareness” like an F1 car with the world painted on it belching plumes of smoke out of the back after another engine failure.
8. “It’s not how much you spend on marketing; it’s how you spend it.”
Toyota GP 2002-2009 “The car in front is a Toyota” Yes, you’re just about to lap it. Sayonara one billion pounds.
9. “Don’t fall behind, keep up with current trends and culture”
Virgin Racing Launch 2009: No Richard, matching leather jackets and a drum kit don’t make you look “cool”.