I recently attended my first Formula E race in Mexico City to get a first hand feel of what this series is all about, along with getting a better understanding of its brand value proposition as it relates to potential sponsors.
When I first heard of this all electric vehicle race series, I was intrigued but a bit skeptical as to its overall merits. However, my experience at the race, and talking with some players involved in the series, gave me the conclusion that it does have a viable place and specific value proposition for sponsors wishing to reach a select target market. These are companies in the electric vehicle and green tech industries, and those interested in promoting their corporate specific CSR programs.
In addition, it became clear that the series is definitely viable to consumer brands not only wishing to market their products, but also to attract global talent, engage employees, and positively impact the community. Being a global series, it easily adapts itself to global brands. It races almost exclusively in downtown urban areas with affordable, easy access to a huge population of urban dwellers, many concerned with environmental issues. It is very fan friendly, and has been very open in making a variety of content available through its various social media platforms.
Major car companies such as Renault, BMW, and Jaguar are heavily involved in the series as a platform for both R&D into EV technology and for marketing their ever increasing stable of electric vehicles. In addition, global brands such as DHL, Qualcomm, Visa, Avis, and Tag Heuer are involved to showcase their companies’ sustainability programs, EV technology, and general product attributes.
Gulf Sponsored Aguri Team car. Photo: Andrew Ferraro/FIA Formula E/LAT
What also became clear during my visit is that Formula E won’t mean an end to oil companies. I met an executive of the Mexican licensee of Gulf Oil International lubricants who explained to me that Gulf became a sponsor of one of the Formula E teams to use it as a platform to do R&D on new electric vehicle lubricant solutions that provide increased range, faster charging, and greater durability so they can be on the forefront of providing product to the ever increasing number of EVs on the road. And, I can say first hand, Mexico City could use an infusion of electric vehicles to replace many of its older, smog spewing cars!
So, what will Formula E see going forward? Most likely, a secure future, increased awareness, and increased involvement with companies and brands looking to take advantage of the series’ unique value proposition. Brands wishing to reach a global market with a reasonable cost should definitely take a look at the options the series and team marketing platform offers.