Image: HK Formula E
Season 4 of the FIA Formula E all electric series kicks off this weekend in Hong Kong, and is poised to further solidify the series as a major player in the global world of motorsports. Its messaging of Electric, Sustainable, Connected, Autonomous, and Shared is targeted right at the growing “Urban Mobility” and “Electrification” trends of government and industry, and attracts a fan base of young, urban, digitally savvy consumers that is the target market sweet spot for marketers of all stripes.
The Formula E teams are already a major platform for global automotive OEMs such as Renault, Jaguar, Audi, Mahindra, parts suppliers in ZF and Schaeffler, and technical partners in Renesas (recently announced in Hong Kong) and TE Connectivity that use them as a testing and marketing communications platform for their electric vehicle technologies.
And, the Series has been able to secure a number of core key global partners such as Qualcomm, Julius Baer, and Allianz, plus Michelin and BMW which announced renewed support of the series this week in Hong Kong.
So, after proving the nay sayers wrong and establishing its relevancy to the above mentioned entities, to what segments might Formula E appeal next? Some thoughts:
“ELECTRIFICATION OF TRANSPORT”
In addition to its now well established appeal to the automotive “transportation” segment, it may be that Formula E could similarly start appealing to those companies who play in the growing “electrification of transport” areas. These being OEMs and parts suppliers of “electrified” short and long haul trucks, buses, tractors, mining equipment, agricultural equipment, construction equipment, etc., a market estimated to be in the hundreds of billion dollars within 10 years.
There are not only excellent live demonstration opportunities at Formula E race events, but also sustainable messaging opportunities in terms of companies communicating how such technology will not only work well, but also reduce CO2 emissions.
Arrival is already the Official Electric Truck partner of Formula E, and is in action at each event, showcasing its light truck work capabilities. It would seem logical that a heavy duty electrified truck manufacturer could be a complement here by doing the heavy work in transporting the series’ equipment, heavy track concrete barriers, and cars to and from airports/ports and the race tracks.
Electrified construction equipment has an opportunity to be demonstrated in placing and removing the temporary city race circuits’ infrastructure (concrete walls, fencing, buildings) and, possibly, corporately communicate how it can benefit society through using its electrified products in building new infrastructure and repairing the increasing damage caused by climate change.
Suppliers of components (i.e., motors, axles, transmissions, electronics) to the non-automotive “electrified vehicle” industry could also be well suited in investigating revenue generating opportunities a Formula E marketing program can offer, likely through marketing communications, but also through B2B opportunities with existing teams’ corporate and partner ecosystems, and via global customer VIP hospitality programs.
ENTER THE GERMANS: GLOBAL CONSUMER BRANDS
Where Formula E so far has been lacking in partner participation is in the area of global consumer goods, the exceptions being champagne supplier GH Mumm, and founding partner Tag Heuer. However, this has changed dramatically. Enter Hugo Boss…..
Last month, Formula E announced that Boss has become the “Official Apparel Partner” of the series starting at the Hong Kong race. This is significant in a couple ways:
First, Boss dropped its long term association in Formula One, the pinnacle of motorsports and traditional platform for luxury consumer goods, for Formula E. Its CEO stating its decision was partially based on Boss’ interest in associating with Formula E’s sustainability message and its desire to reach and influence the series younger urban fan base.
Second, it is the first large global luxury fashion brand to make this decision and very well may be a catalyst for others to now step up and follow. Whether coincidence or not, this is a complement to two other German luxury brands entering the sport in 2019, Porsche and Mercedes, and bodes very well for other brands’ participation in this category.