Formula One Management has entered into a multi-year agreement with Heineken that will commence with its title sponsorship of this year’s Italian Grand Prix. The initial deal will run through to 2020 and will involve Heineken becoming a title partner of three grands prix per season, as well as being visible in six others to be determined with FOM.
Heineken is now the official beer partner of F1, with bars and lounges to be set up at all races, albeit operating behind its responsible drinking campaign, “If you drive never drink.”
David Coulthard and Sir Jackie Stewart will serve as brand ambassadors, although Heineken has made it clear its logo will not feature on any F1 car. Aside from circuit branding, Heineken will promote itself and F1 through a wide range of platforms, including TV commercials, digital activations and live fan experiences and events.
“Heineken is a premium international brand with a super reputation for first class marketing,” Formula One Group CEO Bernie Ecclestone said. “I am very pleased to welcome them to the Formula 1 family and look forward to the scale and quality of their activation at and away from F1 events.
“We are both in the innovation and enjoyment business and I hope this is the start of a long and special relationship.”
Gianluca di Tondo (left), senior director global for Heineken, felt joining F1 now was “the right time to have an additional platform to play a complimentary role with our other programs.”
Heineken already invests and sponsors heavily in the UEFA Champions League, the Rugby World Cup, and in the movie world with the James Bond films.
“We feel hungry and thirsty for growth,” added di Tondo. “Formula 1 is bigger than a race. It is a global event. F1 represents a unique opportunity for Heineken to engage with existing and potential consumers in important growth markets.
“F1 delivers in three specific areas; strong commercial opportunities; expansion of our responsible drinking platform in new and innovative ways; and enabling skill transfers between F1 and our employees. This partnership complements our existing global platforms, enabling us to reach F1’s huge spectator numbers and 400 million unique television viewers every year.
“The hallmark of our long and successful relationships with UEFA Champions League, Rugby World Cup and the James Bond franchise is our passion to excite our consumers. We will be bringing this passion to Formula 1.”
Three-time F1 champion Stewart echoed those sentiments.
“I think Heineken’s involvement is going to do F1 an immense amount of good, adding new dimensions we’ve not seen before,” he said. “It’s the most significant thing that’s happened to motorsport for many years, they’re going to serve an audience not in the paddock, but out there.
“[Consumers] are going to learn to drive and not drink, and they [Heineken] are going to save lives. F1 has one of the biggest audiences in the world of sport, and now we have Heineken who can get their message across and save lives.”