The second and 2012 leg of Formula One Airtel Indian Grand Prix is here and brands are fast taking a whiff of the 24 racing cars and their scorching wheels.

Bharti Airtel, the title sponsor of the event, also announced its ‘Join our pit crew’ contest to kick off the excitement towards the 2012 edition of Airtel Indian Grand Prix. This contest gives one lucky Formula One fan the opportunity to spend three days with the pit crew of Mercedes AMG Petronas drivers Michael Schumacher & Nico Rosberg.

Bharat Bambawale, Global Brand Director – Bharti Airtel, “The idea of a Formula One ties well with our marketing around friendship and youth. Associating ourselves with a global property like Formula One niche global sport is a good way of asserting our global image.”

Novel initiative

Connecting with the youth is the name of the game. Jaypee Sports International Ltd (JPSI) too has brought a novel initiative in

identifying select college bands to perform at the 2012 Formula1 Indian Grand Prix in different entertainment zones across the circuit.

Besides introducing multiple contests, telecommunication major, Vodafone too has come up with a novel initiative of making DND Flyway Toll free on October 28, allowing Delhi-ites a hassle-free experience in reaching to BIC.

Vodafone is the Title sponsor and 'Official Total Communications Partner' of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team.

“Although the number of people following the sport is small, the sport has considerable visibility since it attracts influential audience. It evokes a spirit more than just of a sporting event and more of a social gala. The novelty factor around the race would ride for couple of more years and if we see the small number of followers the sport has, the marketing expenditure on it is disproportionate,” says Santosh Desai, CEO of Future Brands.

Riding the racing wave, Monster India, a recruitment solutions provider, has entered into Monster’s global partnership with the Marussia F1 Team to recruit for a variety of permanent roles such as aerodynamicist, design engineer and composite technician.

Social media

The company has also launched a contest to identify a social media freak who would shadow the team during the three-day event, capturing back-stage tit- bits through videos, photos, tweets and amplify them online.

Bajaj Allianz, an insurance player, too has come out with a unique idea of 'Drive Master' game featuring Nico Rosberg, F1 Driving sensation from the Team Mercedes Petronas GP to spread awareness of safe driving on Roads. Participants have to play the game on 'Jiyobefikar' facebook fan page and winners can get a chance to experience F1 Race.

The event has its own share of naysayers as far as branding buzz is concerned. “This time around the build up to the game is not very dramatic because except for Airtel, no other brand has done anything spectacular. I was expecting enough on-ground activation in eight major metros because brands need to jump out of television into people’s life,” says Harish Bijoor, a brand domain expert.

heena.k@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on October 25, 2012)
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