Client: Hewlett-Packard (Palo Alto, CA)
PR Team: Weber Shandwick Worldwide (Los Angeles)
Campaign: US Formula One Grand Prix
Time Frame: August-September 2000
Budget: dollars 75,000-dollars 100,000
Computers are an integral part of auto racing, a complex sport demanding
total control of dangerous machines moving at ludicrous speeds. Even
expert drivers can be killed in an instant - witness the recent tragedy
involving NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt.
So when Weber Shandwick Worldwide (WSW) EVP Dave Nobs and client
Hewlett-Packard (HP) sought an event to tout the company's products,
they thought of car racing's most complex version: Formula One (F1),
which returned to the US for the first time in nine years at the
Indianapolis Grand Prix last September.
'Formula One is the most technologically demanding motor sport,' says
Nobs. 'One of HP's primary interests in using the demanding theater of
F1 racing was to gain the ultimate case study for their total IT
(We wanted people to) imagine what having teams using all of HP's
products and services could do for business.'
Nobs was tasked with getting out the message that HP is the 'total
solutions provider' and 'innovative technology leader.' HP is the
technology sponsor of Jaguar Racing and IT supplier for Jordan Grand
Prix Racing, providing equipment for use by the teams in engine design,
office use and for telemetry systems. WSW sought to impress the motor
press, consumer media and hi-tech reporters with the versatility of HP's
'In the case of Jaguar, the entire car was designed with use of HP
systems for the first time ever,' explained Nobs.
Though the campaign was focused on the race, the work-up to the event
was complex. To begin with, F1 racing is relatively unknown in the US,
which pays more attention to stock car, Indy car and drag racing.
Nobs created a 'media matrix,' assigning specific HP spokespeople to
pitch individual media categories: motorsports, business, consumer,
advertising, marketing and hi-tech.
A multimedia Web site was made with streaming media, photos, line art
and links. A general e-mail to 1,000 media outlets pointed journalists
to the site. Weber also produced an online briefing for media to learn
more about HP's involvement in F1 racing.
At the race, Weber coordinated a behind-the-scenes video, showing the
use of HP products by the racing teams. Agency staff assisted with
on-site interviews and hospitality for key HP business prospects who had
been invited to the event.
On the week of the event, HP sponsored a racing stunt in New York where
an F1 car raced a cab down Broadway, garnering New York TV coverage and
crucial hits in New York-based national newspapers. 'The key was to
reach IT decision makers in four customer segments: enterprise, large
corporate, small and medium size businesses and the online interactive
area,' says Nobs.
Nobs also coordinated a media event in Indianapolis for reporters to
meet the Jaguar team, race go-carts and test the latest Jaguar racing
Coverage appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Wall
Street Journal, as well as motorsports magazines, hi-tech and business
publications such as PC World, Information Week and Smart Business.
Much of the TV coverage was Indianapolis-based, but the campaign
received hits on CBS Morning News, CNN Headline News and UPN news, as
well as on several local New York City stations.
Weber is creating an audio/video and CD-ROM sales and marketing tool kit
for customers and prospects.