Special to NYSportsJournalism.com
September 18, 2014: Calling it "a great example of how an alcohol brand can dedicate time and money to be a force for good," Johnnie Walker has signed a deal to become the official whisky of Formula 1.
Executives from both sides stressed that the partnership would be endowed with significant responsible drinking programs around the world as part of the Diageo brand's "Join the Pact" initiative, in addition to being supported by a multi-platform marketing effort. Diageo has set a target of adding five million people to the more than one million who have signed a pledge to "Never Drink and Drive’."
Financial terms of the multi-year deal, unveiled during at an event today (Sept. 18) in the Conrad Centennial Hotel in Singapore, were not released.
According to Nick Blazquez, president for Diageo in Africa and Asia, Johnnie Walker, "as a pioneering whisky brand with a progressive spirit, was the perfect whisky to partner with the world’s most progressive and technologically-advanced sport."
"Becoming the official whisky of Formula 1 will enable Johnnie Walker to greatly extend its reach to race fans," said Blazquez. "As a result of our new arrangement, we will have access to a global television audience of more than 450 million people and a track attendance audience of around 1.5 million every year.
“Equally important, and a key reason for Johnnie Walker to become the official whisky of Formula 1, is the huge opportunity we have through this expanded global platform to reach even more F1 fans around the world with responsible drinking messages," said Blazquez.
The alliance official begins this weekend at the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix on the Marina Bay street circuit. The 2014 season began in March and runs through late November.
Johnnie Walker joins a roster of F1 marketing partners that include Rolex, DHL, UBS and Tata.
"We have a huge opportunity through this expanded global platform to reach even more F1 fans around the world with responsible drinking messages."
According to Bernie Ecclestone, CEO for the Formula One Group, "I have admired the way that Johnnie Walker has entered into their sponsorship of Formula 1 to not only achieve commercial benefits but to also highlight the importance of responsible drinking. It is a great example of how an alcohol brand can dedicate time and money to be a force for good.”
“We believe there is great potential in what we can achieve together," said Blazquez. "The Johnnie Walker 'Join the Pact' campaign is a proven, powerful program that is already driving positive change. More than one million people around the world have signed the 'Join the Pact' pledge to ‘Never Drink and Drive’.
"We are therefore announcing today our intention to increase our investment behind this program,activating it in new territories with an ambition of gaining a further five million personal commitments over the next four years.”
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