Dennis: F1 still attractive without ING

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Ron Dennis
McLaren CEO Ron Dennis has weighed in on his view of F1 as a powerful marketing tool even though ING has decided to remove itself from the Renault F1 sponsorship deal after 2009. This is no surprise and while I think ron has taken an opportunity to represent F1 quite well (shouldn’t Bernie be speaking on this and reassuring investors his program is salient?).

To those ends, it is no chocking that ING is removing itself from the fray but it did offer a nice gesture in suggesting, numerically, that it achieved everything it had sought from its involvement in F1; to the tune of a 16% increase in global brand awareness. I guess the exhaustive survey they took showed that but I would like to know what else that survey showed them from an investors stand point. Apparently not enough to help them stay as wildly successful marketing programs would keep ING committed irrespective of them being a bank or not. The gross profit dollars generated by a marketing campaign can be convoluted to determine but Ron still feels this is a great opportunity and I actually agree with him.

“Clearly, it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment specifically on ING’s decision, other than to make the observation that it’s obviously something of a special case because ING is a bank that has faced particular challenges recently.

“Having said that, I want to take this opportunity to emphasise the fact that Formula One remains a hugely attractive sponsorship proposition, which offers an extremely powerful return on investment for the companies involved.

“Indeed, ING’s statement included the following sound bite, reiterating what its marketing executives have said publicly many times: ‘Over the past two years, ING has successfully achieved its objectives for the Formula One sponsorship, raising its overall global brand awareness by 16 per cent [March 2007 versus November 2008]. Formula One remains a powerful business driver even in a difficult economic climate.’

“Undoubtedly, that’s true. And, working under the umbrella of FOTA, all the Formula One teams intend to do their utmost to power through this economic downturn together, delivering optimum return on our partners’ and sponsors’ investment as we do so.”

I find it rich that Ron Dennis has placed himself in a leadership roll regarding F1 and ING’s removal. Usually Bernie would be voicing an opinion about this and it would normally be flippant about ING being a suspect sponsor of ill repute and it is really refreshing to be rid of them. Ron on the other hand has taken a more professional approach and suggested no such thing even to the point of mentioning how inappropriate it would be to comment on the case. I know…I find myself strangely agreeing with Ron and suggesting that Bernie could learn a lesson from this statement instead of vomiting up bile and extract about people who choose not to follow his system or advice.

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