LG planning F1 HD TV advert?

An interview with LG’s vice president of corporate sponsorships Andrew Barrett has been circulated by the Motor Sport Business Forum.

In it, Barrett discusses a forthcoming advert for LG’s 200hz LCD TV range, which he boasts will be the first to use actual footage from an F1 race:

We’ve produced a TV commercial talking about our new 200hz technology on LCD TVs, which allow you to see fast-moving action without blurring. There is no better demonstration of that than Formula One.

That TV commercial features real footage from the Australian Grand Prix. No-one has ever put real F1 race footage in a TV commercial before. That’s part of the wonderful relationship we have with FOM that we can use race footage in advertising.

The product in question is HD-ready, which leads one to wonder whether this ad campaign will accompany the long-overdue arrival of F1 in high definition. It would be preposterous for a television manufacturer to launch an advert boasting about seeing “fast-moving action without blurring” using standard definition instead of HD.

LG’s rival Panasonic has already been using its tie-up with Toyota to promote its Viera range of high definition televisions, even though F1 is lagging behind other sports in not yet offering HD coverage.

There have been rumours that this year’s season finale at Abu Dhabi could be the first F1 race to air in high definition. Is this what the LG ad campaign is planned to coincide with?

Here’s the interview in full:

Why did LG decide to become an F1 partner?

Andrew Barrett: LG is a rapidly fast and growing brand throughout the world and we had been looking for opportunities to further accelerate our brand’s development in two ways. Firstly, to continue to build awareness amongst the global consumer. Secondly, to build our premium technology credentials amongst those that are aware of the LG brand.

We believed that a major sponsorship programme that could help us get global reach and add to the premium technology credentials of our brand through association would be highly effective for our business performance. So we looked for a brand that could fit that criteria and Formula One was a brilliant fit.

Why did you decide on a partnership with Formula One Management rather than sponsoring a team?

AB: We chose to have our relationship with Formula One itself for a number of reasons. We were looking for a programme that would build broad global brand awareness. The opportunity to become a global partner of F1 and some of the key deliverables such as having our logo embedded in the graphics in every race, as one of the top seen logos in every country of the world, really delivered well on brand awareness.

You can do track signage but not necessarily at every race, you can be on a car but that car is not necessarily on-screen. We were looking for a way to have a bold prominence on every broadcast around the world and the partnership with FOM allows us to do that.

We also wanted to reach out to the broadest consumer base that we could. The best way to do that is to be associated with the championship as opposed to somebody’s favourite team. We are, by default, part of everybody’s favourite team. The success or failure of our association rests with how well F1 does rather than any individual team which is very well suited to our brand.

How close were you to doing a team deal?

AB: I cant talk specifically because we aren’t necessarily done with those discussions. We decided to make our first foray into F1 by sponsoring the league and establishing this as the foundation of our relationship with the championship. But I don’t think we’re done yet.

We’re digesting that relationship. Over 65 countries around the world are activating this programme. We’re potentially going to expand that in the future. I wouldn’t say we’re going to do a team deal but I wouldn’t preclude it either.

The deal was signed in November 2008. If you knew then what you know now about the severity of the economic downturn would you still have gone ahead with it?

AB: Absolutely. We did know then what we know now. All the indications of the economic climate change around the world were already very well established. We’re always looking far ahead. But that did not discourage us. Our business is a very healthy one, we’re a rapidly growing brand around the world, we have a business plan to grow that brand dramatically further, and this type of sponsorship activity is important to the acceleration of our brand development.

And in times like this, for companies that can make these bold decisions, put them into action and activate them quickly and successfully, great gains can be made and we believe that with this programme.

You signed a multi-year deal, what is the long-term plan?

AB: The plan is to get every country that LG operates in executing F1 as a key activation platform in the marketing and sales activities. We currently have 30 countries activating programmes – we’ve gone from zero to 30 in just six months, which is really fast.

We’ve produced a TV commercial talking about our new 200hz technology on LCD TVs, which allow you to see fast-moving action without blurring. There is no better demonstration of that than Formula One.

That TV commercial features real footage from the Australian Grand Prix. No-one has ever put real F1 race footage in a TV commercial before. That’s part of the wonderful relationship we have with FOM that we can use race footage in advertising.

This is currently on air in 12 countries around the world and rapidly expanding.
We shot a second commercial at the Malaysian Grand Prix. We had our own camera crew there. This will go on in another 8-10 countries.

We have built an entire print and online advertising campaign for our mobile phones and TVs from our association with F1, which is currently running in over 35 countries.
We have done major trackside activations, with LG technology design centres where thousands of consumers can come in and learn about our products. We’re doing sales contests, online propositions, lots of projects are in the works.

To this date, across my desk has passed over 700 marketing programmes from over 35 countries that have gone to FOM for approval and implementation since we started.
Already the deal is benefitting F1 as LG is helping with the introduction of a new electronic marshalling system.

How did you get involved with this project?

AB: As part of our relationship with FOM, they are helping to find additional ways that our brand can get into the sport from a technology perspective. Mr Ecclestone is always looking at ways that we can enhance the technology side of F1 because that’s our contribution. He is constantly bringing us ideas that could build on that.

We were approached about the marshalling lights, which are a technological evolution in the sport. FIA and FOM have been testing those this season and we have been part of that testing process.

Are you happy with how the deal is going so far?

AB: Absolutely thrilled. We have over 700 projects in 35 countries in just six months. To think of how much of that activity has been implemented with such a passion within our company and with the support of FOM to do some really innovative things, I couldn’t be more pleased. When I’ve talked to FOM and some of our agency partners, they are astounded by the sheer amount of work we have jumped on board and put behind this programme. I think a number of them will tell you it’s unprecedented.

And that’s just the start of a long-term relationship.

What methods are you using to evaluate the success of the deal?

AB: We’re still in the process of developing our full evaluation protocol. We’re building the testing and measurement system as we go along. Some of the key metrics we’re tracking are the PR and media value, which includes things such as the value of our logo on TV or in print. Media and PR value is a key metric for us.

We are also tracking globally how strong LG’s awareness with F1 is developing. How people feel about our brand and if it is building the premium technology credentials of our brand by being associated with this premium sport. We’re also doing a lot of work by asking our guests at various events and seeing how they think we can make our programme better.

Those are our external measures. But we’ve also done this programme for internal reasons. We have thousands of employees around the world, many of whom are new to LG. We’re using the programme to build their comprehension, understanding and respect for the premium technology side of our brand. So I’ve got an internal measurement system to see how strong our awareness is with our employees, how they feel about the programme, and if they feel it helps them in their jobs.

What effect, if any, are the plans to reduce budgets in F1 having on your sponsorship?

AB: Obviously it is important to us is that F1 continues to be a strong, robust and viable sporting franchise in the world because we have bought into a very healthy brand and we need to make sure it continues to experience all of the success it has had historically and more.

But the changes in the sport have no affect on our activity. It is one of the nice things about being associated with the league and not an individual team. As long as there are teams in F1 that are going around the track and hundreds of millions of people are watching then life is good for us, no matter what politics may exist within the sport from time to time.

And some of the changes are great. There were a lot of technical changes to the cars this year, and I would say it has gotten more people more interested in F1 than last year. The ‘David v Goliath’ story that’s going on in the competition has helped. The ratings were certainly up around the world for the first few races. People are paying more attention and talking about it more. And anything that gets more people paying more attention to F1 is good for LG.

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10 comments on LG planning F1 HD TV advert?

  1. Romain from Grenoble said on 2nd July 2009, 0:22

    This ad has already been aired in France.

  2. Romain from Grenoble said on 2nd July 2009, 1:21

    Well… It’s F1 cars running around. They were trying to send the message “hd tv / 200hz tv is better image quality than the rest” with nice images, but since the ad was displayed on my old crt tv, I didn’t see the better quality.
    What I would like to have back, on the broadcast-technology side, is some interactive tv, being able to choose between different cameras. They had this for a short time in france also, some “à la carte” package, where you bought a package for the weekend, and you had different channels, with onboard cams, timing screens, world feed …. This was really nice (I think the company selling this maybe was TPS/CanalSat?).

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd July 2009, 20:02

      Wasn’t that the old F1 Digital+?

      It was a good idea, just came out a bit too early hear. Hardly anyone had heard of digital TV back then. If they brought it out now I’m sure it would do much better.

  3. Romain from Grenoble said on 2nd July 2009, 1:23

    And I would like to add that for the previous british gp, I had an internet connection problem on friday night, and I could not vote on the prediction championship… I lost many positions. Life is tough.
    Why don’t you allow voting up to the beginning of qualifying?

  4. Brian said on 2nd July 2009, 12:19

    Seems rather a pointless collaboration.

  5. LG HDTV is a joke. The price is quiet low for sure, but the quality isn’t the best we can find.
    I’m from France too, and this ad is stupid, how can they show us the quality of an 200Hz-HDTV throw our 60Hz-SDTV ??

  6. Oldman John H said on 2nd July 2009, 18:00

    Bring back analogue!

  7. Pfft. So they took their own ‘HD’ (what sort of HD ?) camcorder to the track and stood around for a bit. Not really a big deal.

  8. scunnyman said on 3rd July 2009, 21:20

    having read these articles about goodwood and overtaking it has got me wanting to watch some season reviews over the weekend, while not doing the july 4th thing. Only i can’t work out what seasons to watch from 1975 to say 2006.

    can anyone suggest some years for me please?

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