Lewis Hamilton’s victory in the Canadian Grand Prix has attracted a mass of coverage and put F1 back on the front pages for the right reasons. Everyone love’s a sporting hero, and this one is so new and so bright it even has my eight year old daughter’s attention. I had to smile though as the TV camera’s caught the scene of a pumped up Lewis waiting to take his place on the winner’s podium trying to buckle on his Tag Heuer watch. It took him a couple of attempts to get the double clip fastened in his excitement. Obviously, the idea that he wears anything extraneous during the race is not on in a sport where driver comfort is one of those micro-factors we are always told might make the difference between winning and losing. And the notion of him taking his left hand of the steering wheel, pulling back the glove and glancing at the little dial on his wrist-watch mid hair-pin is even more absurd (not that Tag Heuer claim this of course). Which made me think about the nature of the sponsorship, because although Tag Heuer does have a long heritage with racing, the product, if not the brand, has no link I can see (I spent 15 minutes on the very confusing web site trying to check this out). The association with Lewis Hamilton (and congratulations to Tag Heuer for picking him up so early) is just like their association with Brad Pitt, Umu Thurman and Steve McQueen. It’s about the personality and what they bring to the brand with the technical and sporting side more of a back-drop. Which is a little different to our client Shell who sponsor Ferrari in F1 and Audi in the Le Mans and whose fuel is actually used in the race and developed alongside the technical teams of both Ferrari and Audi. When Audi won the Le Mans last year, they did so using Shell V-Power Diesel, which in itself was a big story as no diesel car had even been very competitive before. Direct or indirect brand association or a combination of the both . . . racing sponsorship is back in the headlines.
Finally on the subject, I know even supercar owners need the odd tube of mastic or barbecue set, but this still made me smile yesterday.
[tags]Lewis Hamilton, Tag Heuer, Shell Motorsport, Sponsorship [/tags]