Blog: Should F1 drive to drink?
Chris Brook-Carter | 28 February 2005
I had the pleasure last week of visiting the HQ of MacLaren for the unveiling by Diageo of its Johnnie Walker sponsorship of the UK-based Formula 1 motor-racing team to the tune of between £10m and £15m.
It follows hot on the heels of Smirnoff's involvement in the US-based NASCAR event, and is a great fit for a brand attempting to reinforce its image as sophisticated and relevant to 25- to 45-year-old men.
However, the deal will inevitably cause controversy. Formula 1 has only just ended its long-term partnership with a number of tobacco companies and alcohol will be seen by some as an equally evil substitute.
The question must be asked, should alcohol and cars ever mix?
"If it's the start of a trend for alcohol to fill the role of tobacco in formula one advertising, then it's something we would be very concerned about," said a spokesman for Alcohol Concern, the alcohol misuse agency, this week.
While I would concede to critics that advertising of alcohol around motor sports should be carefully monitored, Diageo has built a strong and persuasive defence in this case.
Its marketing around the sponsorship is built primarily through an extra £2m a year that will be budgeted to push a responsible drinking message in Grand Prix markets.
PepsiCo's chairman Steve Reinemund today rejected calls for a total ban on soft drink advertising to children, because it would effectively end the industry's chances of being involved in a solution to child obesity. A similar argument can be used here. Who has the more powerful platform to educate consumers about the dangers of drink driving: the drinks companies themselves allied with high profile F1 drivers or faceless government authorities?
Both are probably needed if we are to make an effective effort to stamp out the problem. Furthermore, as both Diageo and McLaren boss Ron Dennis pointed out last week, if this campaign succeeds, it will not only encourage Diageo to spend more money on social responsibility, but raise the bar for the industry in general and force other drinks companies to follow suit.
Bacardi's 42 Below vodka brand has found a novel way to use the lemons left over from cocktail-making: Turn them into liquid soap....
Philadelphia’s soda tax came into force on Sunday, and is reportedly causing a stir in the city's check-out aisles....
Earlier this month, I was most-kindly invited by Accolade Wines to visit the Royal Albert Hall in London. The reason? They wanted to see a tennis great in action, and then give them a guided tour thro...
Do you like whisk(e)y? And, I mean, really like whisk(e)y? Are you at a loose end in the first half of 2017? If so, then I've found just the job for you....
- Interview Berry Bros & Rudd CEO Dan Jago - Part I
- The threat of excess choice in beer is over-stated
- Key trends for the beer category in 2017 - Focus
- Key trends for the spirits sector in 2017 - Focus
- Signs of life in Japan's beer market - Comment
- Pernod Ricard's Method and Madness Irish whiskey
- Premium to counter mainstream in gin - research
- Bacardi lines up Canadian bottling plant closure
- Pernod unveils new St Patrick's Day Jameson bottle
- Wm Grant names Victor Jerez business director
- Global vodka insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends
- Global rum insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends
- Global Cognac insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends
- Battle of the Generations - The fight for iGen, Millennial, Gen X and Baby Boomer consumers
- Global gin insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends