LONDON: Success on the track has proved elusive for McLaren, the Formula One team, but that has also forced greater humility and more creativity in its content output, according to its digital director.

When you’re winning, engagement comes easily, Rob Bloom admitted to an audience at Advertising Week Europe.

In the absence of on-track success, however, the brand has rethought its image and how it works with sponsors and communicates with existing and potential fans. (For more details, read WARC’s report: McLaren’s lack of track success fuels its creativity.)

Digital and social channels have altered the relationship between the F1 team and fans, he explained, requiring it to “peel back the layers and make [itself] relevant, interesting and engaging to a younger audience”.

One way that is manifesting itself, he suggested, is a shift from the focus of a previous generation of fans on individual drivers to a new generation of fans who “will have a greater avidity with a team”.

Bloom takes inspiration from the FMCG world: “that’s where you’ve got the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s doing brilliant initiatives that really understand their community – and it’s the same journey that sports are currently on in terms of understanding what our total fanbase looks like.”

Just as McLaren’s digital team seeks fan engagement over and above reach and impression, it is focused on activation for sponsors. “There’s a desire from partners [like SAP or NTT Communications] that we can amplify them to a B2B audience and community,” Bloom said.

The days are long gone when it was enough to simply have a sponsor logo on a car, although these did feature prominently when McLaren unveiled a “papaya orange” livery a few months ago.

The #BeBrave launch had a combined social reach of 60 million over the course of the 30-day campaign, with 9.4 million video views, 1.3 million engagements and 200,000 website sessions.

It also generated $6.4 million in earned media value for partners in the 48 hours after the unveiling.

Sourced from WARC