CSR - Ferrari gives kids the ride of their lives

Campaign: Ferrari California Experience at Silverstone

Dream team: Ferrari
Dream team: Ferrari

Client: Ferrari North Europe (FNE)
PR team: Jori White Public Relations
Timescale: February-June 2010
Budget: £15,000

According to Enzo Ferrari: 'A Ferrari is a dream. For most it will always remain a dream, except for those lucky few.' Ferrari used this philosophy as an idea for an event that would give some of the UK's most deserving young people the chance to enjoy an experience that, for most, would remain a dream. The event had to embody the Ferrari brand values of exclusivity and extreme performance.

OBJECTIVES

- To create a consistent and coherent CSR strategy for FNE

- To generate brand awareness and perception for Ferrari in the UK

- To counter the stereotypical portrayal of Ferrari as a 'footballer's car'

- To improve FNE's relationships with Ferrari dealers.

STRATEGY AND PLAN

Ferrari provided 12 Ferrari Californias in which to give passenger rides to terminally and seriously ill children. The owner of Silverstone, BRDC, was approached and agreed to donate use of the circuit and access to its own team of up-and-coming new drivers, the BRDC SuperStars.

The PR team rounded up charity partners including Starlight Children's Foundation, which nominated children suffering from terminal and critical illnesses to experience the rides.

Other partners included BEN, the motor industry's charity, which nominated children for rides. The team then secured time and resources from commercial partners, including in-car video cameras, catering and an aerobatic display team.

Families who had agreed to take part in publicity were interviewed and detailed case studies were prepared, along with pre-event interviews with the children.

The event was held on 4 May, when 50 children were driven by members of the BRDC SuperStars team, along with Fifth Gear presenter Jason Plato and Pink Floyd drummer and Ferrari fan Nick Mason. Ferrari F1 test driver Mark Gene also attended on behalf of the team. All those attending also saw a surprise display by The Blades aerobatic team.

The children were all given goody bags with USB sticks holding footage of their own rides, and other mementoes.

To improve the relationships between FNE and the Ferrari dealer network, Ferrari dealers were invited to the event and asked to host the families throughout the morning.

MEASUREMENT AND EVALUATION

The campaign generated all-encompassing regional media coverage, including front covers and features in titles and websites such as the Birmingham Mail, Luton Today, Kentnews and on BBC Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

Nationally, the story appeared on ITV, in Metro, The Daily Telegraph, First News and on Heart Radio.

RESULTS

Ferrari intends to make the experience an annual event and the focus of Ferrari's CSR programme in the UK.

SECOND OPINION - Emma Coleman, Associate director, Bite Communications

As a standalone project this event has worked exceedingly well. Jori White was successful in motivating and managing a large group of stakeholders to deliver a great experience for everyone involved. The logistical feat of managing this type of project cannot be underestimated; feedback from Starlight and the media coverage speaks for itself.

The cynical may deem this type of activity to be self-serving PR in CSR clothing. I say, when so many deserving people benefit, who are we to judge? However, I do question whether Jori White met the brief to 'create a consistent and coherent CSR strategy for FNE'. CSR has changed dramatically over the past decade; successful strategies work because they are deeply embedded in an organisation's overall vision. When this works well, CSR strategies have the potential to drive everything from corporate reputation to employee engagement, over the long-term. The question is how well this one-off campaign is linked to FNE's corporate strategy and how it has subsequently been integrated into ongoing corporate messaging, positioning and internal communications.

However, this project was creative, excellently executed and held true to Ferrari's brand values.

Jori White was able to cost-effectively activate a large group of partners, successfully developing an event that resulted in a happy group of deserving youngsters, while also delivering business benefits by influencing the dealer network.

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