La F1 et Johnnie Walker deviennent partenaires

Jeudi 18 septembre à Singapour et quelques heures avant les premiers essais du Grand Prix de Marina Bay, le groupe F1 a annoncé la signature d’un partenariat avec la marque de whisky Johnnie Walker : la marque écossaise devient  donc le « whisky officiel » de la F1.


Signé par Bernie Ecclestone, patron du Group Formula One, et Nick Blazquez, Président de Diageo pour l’Afrique et l’Asie, le contrat en question porte sur une durée de « plusieurs années ». La marque sera visible lors des week-end de Grand Prix en fonction du pays et de sa loi par rapport à la publicité sur l’alcool. Depuis 2005, la marque Johnnie Walker est présente en F1 avec Mclaren qui d’ailleurs proposait cette année à Monaco une livrée spéciale Johnnie Walker.


Le double champion du monde finlandais (1998-1999) Mikka Häkkinen, ambassadeur de la campagne “responsible drinking” de Johnnie Walker a déclaré lors de la signature de ce contrat : « Le nouveau partenariat, que la marque a noué avec le groupe Formula One, donne une énorme impulsion à notre campagne et étendra de manière significative l’envergure de cette formidable initiative, en touchant des millions d’autres personnes à travers le monde ».


Pour Nick Blazquez, Président de Diageo Afrique et Asie « Nous avons cette immense opportunité, par le biais de cette plate-forme mondiale élargie, de toucher encore plus d’amateurs de F1 à travers le monde avec des messages de consommation responsable d’alcool. » Les marques de boissons alcoolisées cherchent à redorer le blason de leur com’ : elles ont compris le changement de paradigme qui s’est construit. Fini le temps où les pilotes exhibaient fièrement leur cigare et verre de whisky dans les paddocks. La tendance du moment tourne autour du sain et du safe, avec des pilotes qui doivent contrôler scrupuleusement leur alimentation comme ils contrôlent leur consommation d’essence durant la course et la dégradation de leur pneus. L’efficience a remplacé les excès. A ce propos  la campagne Join The Pact de Johnnie Walker s’inscrit dans cette démarche de responsabilité.


Décidemment, les marques d’alcool et la F1 aiment réaliser des partenariats, à l’image cette saison de Williams qui porte les couleurs de Martini, la boisson étant d’ailleurs le sponsor titre de l’écurie anglaise. Quant à Force India, c’est avec la vodka Smirnoff qu’elle s’est associée. Ces partenariats entre la F1 et les marques d’alcool ou de tabac ne datent pas d’hier, ce qui a d’ailleurs bien souvent entraîné des débats sur ce genre de rapprochement. Les gouvernements pensent à changer les lois relatives à la santé et notamment tout ce qui touche les comportements sur l’alcool ou le tabac. Cela passe par la législation bien sur, mais aussi par des campagnes de marketing social cherchant à faire changer les comportements et surtout les mentalités.

De leur coté, les patrons d’écuries quant à eux mettent en avant l’importance d’attirer ce genre de sponsors pour des raisons de viabilité économique. Mis à part les équipes ténors du paddock, nombre d’écuries de Formule 1 se trouvent dans une situation financière délicate. Pour Claire Williams, « c’est de plus en plus difficile de faire venir des sponsors. Nous sommes constamment en train d’essayer de faire venir de nouveaux sponsors pour permettre à Williams de rester en vie ».



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