In Formula1, MotoGP, MotoGP, Sport Sponsorship, Sports Marketing

We talked and wrote about activations several times and we shared and analyse many sports activations ideas and examples; we won’t be stopping soon. Yes, because sponsorship activations in sport are a fundamental and pivotal part of any partnership and project you invest in. In order to be successful and effectively reach their audience, companies/brands that invest in a sponsorship program should also invest in an activation program.

You may ask yourself: what does this mean? What is an activation?

Let’s go back to the basics: the display of the brand/logo on the livery of a racing car, on a motorbike, on the jersey of a football or cricket club or on the boards at the side of the tennis court or a stadium are not enough to engage your customers/fans in an active and memorable way. Brand awareness is certainly important when you chose to invest in a sport sponsorship, it’s part of the so called “sponsorship package” but then you have to design and build collateral activities to actively talk to your target thus creating a deeper and stronger relationship. Be seen is not enough.

So, back to your question: sponsorship activations are a whole series of actions that allow you, as a brand/company to interact actively with your target, engage them in a concrete way so that the memory of the brand / product is strong and positive at the time of the purchase.

Motorsport, and F1 specifically, has always been one of the most innovative sports fields, not only from a technological and sporting point of view but also for marketing activities and engagement. In this article we’d like to lead you through some unconventional and interesting sponsorships activation ideas. We have selected 5 of them, all in motorsport. 

1. Redbull

When it comes to sponsor activation examples and sponsorship activations, one cannot fail to mention Redbull: the company of the most famous energy drink that has invested in sports since the very beginning and has created great unconventional events and activities related to its sponsorship programs and therefore created a huge number of contents. All these contents have provided and still are providing a strong platform to engage and communicate with fans and consumers.

The RedBull Racing F1 Team, in particular, is always very active, both with digital and on the field activations.

I’m sure you haven’t missed the incredible video (actually more a movie than a video) of Max Verstappen’s race from Palermo to Milan to promote the Italian F1 race. A spectacular video shot in the very narrow streets of Palermo, Sicily, in which Max whizzes with his F1 trying to catch a boat that takes him to mainland and then be able to participate to the GP. The video highlights the squares and the wonderful monuments of the city, as well as all the characteristic places such as the market, the Mondello beach, the Cathedral.

Not a novelty for the Red Bull team: the 4-wheeler F1 car was seen roaming the city streets of Istanbul, Paris, Prague, in Czech Republic, though the desert in Jordan, on ice and snow.  We saw the car challenging planes, MotoGP and motocross bikes, ski champions on the slopes: in short, a truly active and adventurous car ready for any impossible event and challenge. Fun, alternative, and exciting and unconventional videos that engage and entertain the audience from week to week, plus brand visibility for all the partners on social media, newspapers, magazines etc.

2. DHL

DHL provides some of the best sports activations in 2021. The shipping and delivery company is a mature partner of F1 and MotoGP, and they are always at the forefront of content creation and activations. These days in particular, the fastest courier in F1 has come out with a beautiful video on the occasion of the launch of the James Bond movie, No time to die. The attentive and scrupulous delivery guy punctually delivered the package to the most famous secret agent in the world, following him in his many reckless adventures. If you haven’t seen it, go and find it on Youtube, truly funny and brilliant.

DHL has also created a website and social media accounts dedicated to their sponsorships, where all the events related to the F1, Formula E and MotoGp partnerships are shared and promoted; videos, information, behind the scenes, but also many competitions and promotions to engage with fans. The “Commentator challenge” is my favorite: they give the user the opportunity to become an F1 commentator for a day. Or the “design your selfie” to win tickets for the 2022 season, or the “Formula E personality quiz” to understand what kind of fans you are and win prizes related to racing.

3. Heineken

Another company that has always exploited its sponsorship programs, from football to F1. Every single activity for me is just a showcase to mention, exemplary. Heineken, as well as DHL, has a website dedicated to sponsorships where you can find news, videos, promotions, events, special packaging, so on and so forth. To celebrate the F1 Grand Prix in Holland, Heineken organised a special concert at the circuit, a unique track performance of the famous DJ Tiesto. Fans could attend the event livestream. Same thing was done in Italy to celebrate the Italian GP with live DJ sets from the Heineken Green Bar in Milan and live streaming as well; in our opinion, it was one of best sports sponsorship activations in 2020.

Also noteworthy is the great use of testimonials / ambassadors: from David Coulthard to talk about F1 to Nico Rosberg to promote new contents related to Formula E and sustainability. A wide way to speak to different targets in the same moment.

The best promotion we cannot miss mentioning is the competition that gave the opportunity to win the F1 Pit Wall. The “Ultimate Race Sunday Experience”: a real replica of the race pit wall with videos and detailed information on the events on the track, to live the track experience from home with family and friends. So cool! I participated but unfortunately I didn’t win.

4. Klipsch Audio

Another cool example of sponsorship in sport and then activation comes from Klipsch Audio. Speakers, audio devices and earphones of the highest quality to better listen to music at home and on the go. Great style, technology, and performance at its highest, so what better partner than F1 McLaren team? As partners of McLaren team, they take tips and ideas from the racing world to create alternative contents and activities, and products as well such as the wonderful McLaren edition earphones that are the Giveaway to celebrate every GP around the world. Extensive creation of videos and content related to the F1 team and a great use of one of their drivers, the raising star Lando Norris; he is the perfect testimonial to speak to a younger and more dynamic target.

5. NettApp

Another company that is very attentive to the exploitation of the sponsorship of both the MotoGP Ducati Corse Team and the F1 Aston Martin team.

Data and simulations play a fundamental part in the world of racing and what better showcase to share with consumers than those of two top teams of the most followed Motorsports championships in the world. Informative videos, digital events, detailed insights, information from the track: users can find on NetApp social networks all the information to follow their idols on the track and understand the importance of data and the reliability of those who manage them.

These are just a few examples of how big companies/brands use sponsorship to engage and entertain fans.

As a sports marketing and sports activations agency we can only be happy to share them with you so to make people understand how important it is to create alternative activities and contents.

Fans, but also public in general, want alternative content to watch and read, they are interested in the aspects that cannot be seen from the couch. Insights, behind the scenes, promotions, special events: you are spoiled for choice. You just need to be a bit creative or to follow the suggestions of your sports marketing consultant.

If you want to deepen, learn more or receive some ideas, do not hesitate to contact us.

Can we help you sign your best sponsorship deal?

Silvia Schweiger
Silvia Schweiger
Associate Director, Executive Marketing and Commercial at RTR Sports Marketing, a London-based sports marketing company specializing in motorsport for over 25 years.
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  • Craig

    Hi there just come across a great motor sport waiting to happen , large twin hull motor cars beach launching in South Africa presently for fishing contests , but you gotta see it skills boats motors and surf big surf all day long , amazing sport just waiting for engine and hull builders to show their stuff not to mention the skill of the skippers to navigate the surf

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