Vodafone vs Hamilton

Vodafone have been doing some interesting things with their sponsorship of the McLaren F1 team and I really like the latest manifestation of their marketing. It’s a simple idea, executed well.

To promote the launch of their mobile broadband in the Netherlands, they’ve conceived a race between the dongle download speed and Lewis Hamilton in a F1 car (from 2 years ago). they’re looking for 28,800 people to join in and connect with the Vodafone vs Hamilton Facebook app. At an average of 10kb per profile picture, they’ll attempt to download all of the images quicker than the car can race 2.7km. Now obviously, the distances and numbers have been calculated so that I’m pretty sure the download will win, but it’s certainly a great idea to promote the speed of the new service.

Vodafone vs Hamilton

They have a cool visualisation of all the profile pics, with a 3D rotating car made up of the pictures and it’s incentivised, at least for Dutch members, with prizes of computer and free Mobile broadband service. (Although personally, I think I’d rather attend the race!)

  • It’s a great idea perfectly expressing speed and leveraging the sponsorship
  • Although it’s a Dutch promotion, it’s open to anyone to contribute to the race, so having a wider branding reach than just the new product launch. Vodafone have mobile broadband in many countries, so it works just as well for them
  • There’s a risk if they don’t reach the numbers required. As of now, they have 4.7k participants, only 16% of the required and it’s 11 days to go. I’m sure they’re promoting through social ads and in-market collateral, as well as the auto-posts to Facebook Wall. The latter is a minor annoyance, as they are posting without informing specifically what they will say


Updated 13 Sept

I watched this today. or at least tried to. Here’s what happened:

  • The McLaren twitter feed, @thefifthdriver was giving news about the race happening before it was due to start on Facebook.
  • When it eventually started, we were subjected to 25 mins of images of Hamilton sitting in his car, with a commentary bascially telling us that we were waiting for clearances etc (I think, My Dutch isn’t brilliant).
  • There was a very quick sequence of the car racing the digital version, before switching back to the ‘live’ feed.
  • The Facebook app then stopped broadcasting and declared the results. Facebook 0, Hamilton 2, although with copy that states that Facebook won. (result later changed to 1-2) and the copy changed to reflect the result that Hamilton won

So, great idea, badly executed with the stream. I’ve no idea what happened. I’ll get the edited highlights later, but it was supposed to be live!

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Vodafone vs Hamilton results version 1 (later changed to reflect Hamilton winning)
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