22 Nov 2012

Coca-Cola finally enters F1 - with Lotus

The F1 community has been talking about Coca Cola as the Golden God of sponsorship opportunities for decades.  The world's biggest drinks company has been the top priority on the sponsorship target list   of all the top teams - with the exception of Red Bull (obviously) and McLaren who's GSK sponsorship would run in direct competition with Coke.

In what is a massive coup for the team, Lotus F1 team has signed Coca Cola - who's only involvement with F1 before has been as race sponsors - on a multi-year deal.

Coke will be using the 'burn' energy drink brand rather than Coca Cola, which is a bit odd as they already own Relentless energy drinks and promote the brand in several areas of motorsport.  The burn website is something of a shoddy affair with lots of videos about snowboarding and skateboarding.

Notwithstanding that Coca Cola obviously have plans for the brand.  Here's how they describe it on their press release: "Burn is a category leader in the global energy drink explosion. The red formula is a symbol of active fire, that provides Guetta & Guetta and other drinkers the energy needed to leave their original vision on the world. Dismantling category norms, consumers embody a live-out-loud mentality, without fear of boundaries created by society."

Which seems to be one of the worst examples of a middle-aged PR executive trying to recreate youth-speak we've ever read.  Don't forget that Kimi Raikkonen re-signed for Lotus F1 on the basis of their promises to him for next year.  The team obviously knew this sponsorship was on the cards when they persuaded Kimi to drive for them in 2013.  Lotus cars don't support Lotus F1 financially so the Coke deal will mean a huge amount to them.

Eric Boullier, Lotus F1 Team Principle, said this: "We are proud that The Coca-Cola Company has chosen Lotus F1 Team as the best vehicle to represent the burn brand in its most high profile partnership. We are excited to partner with burn to build a new and innovative model for sponsorships that will combine experiences, content creation and social media; an area in which our team has been at the cutting edge in Formula 1 for the past 18 months, recording the highest growth rate amongst fans this year."

In other words, "Phew!  I'm glad we've got some cash for next year."

Kimi Raikkonen is not known for his love of sponsors or for getting involved in any kind of PR activity.  He is, however, known for his love of the odd drink.  At least now he'll get a free supply of mixers to go with his vodka.

More information and details of the livery will be available when the new Lotus is launched at the start of 2013.