A massive new F1 deal

Heineken and the Formula One group have announced a multi-year global partnership, which will be one of the biggest sponsorships in the history of the sport. Although Heineken has not given any financial details about the partnership, which will begin in September, the company says it will be one of Heineken’s biggest ever deals. Given that the UEFA Champions League deal is reckoned to be worth as much as $70 million a year, the F1 deal will likely be around the same figure. But, this is just a fraction of the investment because Heineken will be spending two or three times the partnership fee in activation in the major F1 markets and thus with a five-year deal, it is possible that the deal will cost Heineken in the region of $1 billion. The goal is not just to develop the Heineken brand, which is already a major global name, but rather to drive new business for the beer firm and for Formula One.

“We estimate Formula One can give us the extra 200 million people on top of the other global consumers we have and F1 is looking for spectators to turn into F1 fans,” says Gianluca Di Tondo, Heineken’s global brand director. “Together we can both reach our goals. We know how to reach people. Our Twitter programme for the Champions’ League this year reached 2.5 billion people.”

In addition to the planned growth in sales, Heineken believes that F1 can help it spread the word about road safety with a new campaign with the message: “If You Drive, Never Drink”. Sir Jackie Stewart will be the ambassador for this campaign and believes that the sort can help to save a huge number of lives.

“I think this is the most significant thing for motorsport for many years,” said Sir Jackie. “It will bring another dimension to the sport, not here in the F1 paddock but out there. We will helping Heineken get the message across to mass audiences and saving lives.”

Heineken wants to get the message across that drinking in moderation can be “a cool thing to do”, despite the anti-alcohol advertising campaigners who seek to demonise the whole industry.

Heineken’s activation will include F1 circuit branding, TV commercials, digital activities, live fan experiences and events, dedicated PR initiatives, and packaging and point-of-sale promotion. David Coulthard will be an ambassador for the main campaign, while Stewart will deal with the road safety angle.