Stage is set for the Indian Grand Prix 2013 at the Buddh International Circuit under the shadow of a PIL being filed, seeking cancellation of the Formula 1 race on October 27, 2013 for non-payment of entertainment taxes by the organisers for the 2012 event.
As various F1 teams converge in Delhi-NCR for the race, Vodafone which sponsors the McLaren F1 team, has stepped up its activities around the race event. This is the last year that Vodafone is sponsoring Team McLaren. It may be recalled that earlier this year, the telecom company had announced that it was ending its seven-year title sponsorship ties with the McLaren Formula 1 team at the end of the 2013 season.
The last few weeks have seen Vodafone aggressive in terms of its marketing strategy this year to leverage the F1 platform to the fullest. Last year, the company had taken the animation route and rolled out a 35-second film to invite its customers and racing enthusiasts to become a part of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team. This year, the marketing initiatives are all under the umbrella of ‘Race Ahead with Vodafone 3G’, symbolising the speed of the race and the Vodafone data dongle.
Vodafone’s OOH initiative that involves mounting a live size car and the dongle on a hoarding to give 3D effect has been grabbing eyeballs. A special motor keeps the tyres on the mounted car in motion to give the impression of the car moving on an actual race track. The flickering light boxes demonstrate the 3G speed of the dongle.
Activation drives to engage consumers have also been carried out. One such activity was carried out on October 20, 2013 at the Ambience Mall in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj area. Visitors to the mall got a chance to get their photo clicked and be transformed into a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team member on the racing track. The visitors could then upload their pictures with the Vodafone 3G dongle, which was automatically posted on their as well as Vodafone India’s Facebook wall. Other activities such as puzzles were also organised to engage the audiences.
Talking to exchange4media, Anuradha Aggarwal, Senior Vice President – Brand Communications Insights and Online, Vodafone India said, “Vodafone has been using the Formula 1 platform even before it had come to India. We have given opportunities to our customers to ride in the car with Lewis Hamilton. We have done an interesting digital activation this year with Vodafone Drive into the Big League. For us, it is the end of a very fruitful association with Formula 1. This year has been equally exciting as the ones before.”
Vodafone Business Services, the enterprise vertical of Vodafone, carried out the third season of the Vodafone Drive into the Big League with an aim to provide one lucky medium enterprise (a company with a turnover of Rs 100 crore-Rs 500 crore) a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of getting its company logo showcased on the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes cars that will race at the Indian Grand Prix 2013. The logo will take center stage, alongside multi-billion dollar brands, to be viewed by millions of television viewers across the globe. At the close of two months of high activity-led selection and elimination process, Havmor Ice Cream was declared the winner of the Vodafone Drive into the Big League Season 3.
Commenting on the Vodafone Drive into the Big League Season 3 initiative, Naveen Chopra, Director, Vodafone Business Services said, “We are overwhelmed by the tremendous response to this unique initiative since the time we started in 2011. The first two seasons of Vodafone Drive into the Big League were aimed at SMEs, but with the third season we decided to give this opportunity to a medium-sized enterprise. It will provide the thrust necessary to translate their desire to join the big league into reality. This initiative has helped Vodafone Business Services understand the goals and challenges of medium-sized enterprises and in turn connect with them to provide tailor made business solutions that meet their requirements and expectations.”
On levering the Vodafone Drive into the Big League as a marketing tool for SMEs, Aggarwal said, “It is a really exciting platform for Vodafone to access small and medium enterprises and for them to get their logo showcased on the car. It is every company’s dream to be a part of a world class sport such as Formula 1, and Vodafone gives them the opportunity to do so. This year, we have got a very large number of people whom we could access, showcase our services and sell our plans, technologies and partnerships. This year, we have transformed a little bit to target medium enterprises and how technology and Vodafone enabled their business to do better.”