F1 Sponsporship: Alcohol is a complicated but lucrative game

The Bacardi-owned Martini has made its comeback on F1 racetracks in 2014, a good year for the Williams team who experienced a renewed acknowledgement and a major reshuffling. Martini is now extremely visible on the Mercedes cars, the suits and other wearable gear.

Martini is paying a very reasonable fee for being in the spotlight, given how sensitive it has become to advertise alcoholic beverages. Their yearly check is about $15 dollars, as much as Rexona pays out for their quality brand placement.

This modest amount is however a healthy injection for Williams, as it is a huge chunk of their total budget which is of about $50 million.

Efficiently using the media exposure

Due to the nature of their product line, the Bacardi group has no other choice but to hammer in an excessively positive message and try to downplay the contradiction of associating alcohol to driving.

Just like the tobacco industry’s past sports sponsorships, alcohol producers must find the right message, all the while staying out of the no-go zone imposed by the European Union in terms of advertising such products.

Williams offers pragmatic possibilities

Bacardi Global’s head of sponsorships, Dominic Curran, admits that the Williams team constitutes a very profitable and cost-effective way to communicate. It is exceptional exposure and associates the brand to another very prestigious name. But more specifically, the Williams team offers more flexibility than other, bigger teams that have more of a corporate culture and are firmly centered on the interests of higher powers.

Awareness and responsible drinking at the heart of the campaigns

Curran also explained that whatever they do on or around the racetracks is systematically coupled with a call or some kind of message to promote responsible drinking. He stated this was at the heart of their corporate principles and an absolute prerequisite for their work to see the light of day.

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