Can SIA unseat SingTel's influence over F1?

Despite no longer holding the sponsorship for the F1 Grand Prix, SingTel’s shadow is still looming over marketers' minds, says a new survey.

SingTel dominated in terms of brand recall with 33% associating the telco with the event.

SIA came in number two with only 19% brand recall. Ferrari was next at 12%, Red Bull at 6%, and Shell and Tiger Beer were tied at 2%.

These are among the insights from Life in the Fast Lane, a study by recruiters Font, which surveyed 100 marketers from marketing, digital, communications and creative roles in Singapore on their thoughts about the F1 Singapore Grand Prix.

An SIA spokesperson told Marketing that as the title sonsor, the brand has been holding events leading up to the race, such as the Light Up The Night Carnival and the ongoing Snap & Win contest in Singapore.

"As we continue to demonstrate our hospitality during the 2014 and 2015 race editions, we will be able to firmly stamp our mark as the Title Sponsor," the spokesperson added.

“Frankly speaking I am not surprised by this data because when SingTel first took on the sponsorship, they were very creative in leveraging on the F1 race and name,” said Lawrence Chong, CEO, Consulus.

Chong cited how SingTel even had its retail shops redesigned in F1 themes and colours. Describing SIA as taking an “arms length” approach, he said: “So you could say that SingTel embraced the idea of sponsoring the F1 race with gusto. As for SIA, other than an ad, which was a subtle one too, there has been very little creative expression on the part of SIA. For example SIA could have redesigned one of the plane's liveries with an F1 theme.”

Most probably the SIA marketing team is not really very used to the idea of marketing of the “now”, which is more immediate and bold. It is sad that as of now, marketers still think of SingTel as the title sponsor. If I were SingTel, I would be very pleased,” said Chong.

Simon Bell, general manager, South East Asia at Landor Associates, however, said that the Singapore Airlines tie up is a logical one, but that changing overall brand recall from SingTel to Singapore Airlines might take awhile.

"I’d say if the research was repeated after this weekend, the results would change," Bell added.

F1 - A huge marketing boost

Meanwhile, Singapore marketers also voted that social media is the number one marketing medium for the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix. The annual event, set to happen this weekend, is recognised by marketers as a beneficial investment for brand marketing, but industry leaders need to prepare for an imminent productivity dip among marketers during the week of the anticipated night race, said the survey. According to SAP's Social Media Analytics last year, the Singapore GP beat all others with the highest proportion of positive mentions on social media.

Digital marketing is undisputedly the top marketing channel for the Singapore Grand Prix, added the survey.

More than a third of the respondents (38%) voted that social media is the most important marketing medium for the event, while close to half of the respondents (43%) said they would download an F1 Grand Prix related mobile app.

Singapore marketers testified to the effectiveness of leveraging the Singapore Grand Prix for consumer outreach. Meanwhile 66% agreed that brands tapping into the event are making worthwhile investments and 51% said the Singapore Grand Prix is the most important event for marketers to leverage in Singapore.

“Marketers shouldn’t miss out on massive opportunities in the digital space to reach mass audiences for brand awareness, engagement and sales during the Singapore Grand Prix,” Anna Clark-Hall, Singapore country manager of Font said.

“It’s no surprise that social media reigns for F1 marketing - font has seen demand for digital expertise, and brands seek agencies that offer integrated digital and traditional marketing solutions. Agencies need to adapt and build talented teams that offer all-round marketing services, whiledigital-focused agencies will be challenged to offer more.”

With the Formula 1 races recognised globally as a prolific event, the survey also identified the top reasons for attendance amongst marketers in Singapore. The race (40%) itself emerged the clear winner, followed by networking opportunities (24 %) and partying (17%).