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F1 sponsor breaks through $1 billion barrier for TV exposure
Posted By:   |  15 Jan 2014   |  2:48 pm GMT  |  75 comments

Red Bull’s title partner, Infiniti, has become the first Formula One team sponsor to receive over US $1billion in a season in advertising value – according to the leading global research company Repucom.

Against a backdrop of declining TV audiences in some markets, the figure is an astonishing one, considering that the cost of a title sponsorship for a leading F1 team is around £70 million per year. Although Repucom’s data suggests a high return on investment ratio, good sponsorships for teams are proving hard to find, with only a handful of teams lucky enough to have a title sponsor. McLaren recently lost Vodafone and have yet to identify its replacement, while big names like Lotus, Williams and Sauber have gone a few seasons without a title sponsor.

Nigel Geach, a well known figure in the F1 paddock and vice president at Repucom said, “Clear branding on the car, team and drivers in addition to significant airtime thanks to the team’s strong on track performance throughout the year, gave Infiniti the advertising equivalency value of over $1billion from Global TV coverage -an amazing achievement.”

The $1 billion figure is measured scientifically from time on screen against a rate card; it has been accumulated through media advertising and brand recognition of Infiniti on the team’s cars, drivers and team personnel during TV coverage of Grand Prix weekends. The recognition, however, does not necessarily equate to increased sales, simply familiarity of the brand.

“We get huge exposure. The first season with Red Bull Racing the quantitative data showed we got US $250 million of media value, then we got US$339 in the second season,” said Andreas Sigi, Global Director of Infiniti Formula One. “This is logo exposure through the live coverage of qualifying and racing. If you then add everything else we do it’s huge, but that only means people have heard of Infiniti.
“Then the next step is ‘What do we stand for?’ Are we a performance brand or a premium brand and that takes time.”

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Is it safe to assume that everyone here knows that there is an Infiniti sponsor (related to Red Bull) and an Infinity sponsor (I think connected to GENII, and therefore Lotus)?


What a complete load of mumbo jumbo, just because its equivalent to £1 billion air time does not mean its worth that…ask yourself would any sponsor spend 1 billion on advertising through 1 media (f1) – they wouldnt cos only a single type of audience would see it (us f1 fans) and once youve seen it a few times on the car what difference does it make seeing it again..as if they can really say the advertising is 14x more effective than the 70m spent….haha


So, when the sports highlights on the

nightly news show clips of F1 racing,

do all the non-F1 fans in your family

go temporarily blind?


$1 billion in exposure. Find that hard to believe, but I must admit here in Australia (yes we know we area drop in the ocean compared to the rest of the world) but over the past few years Infiniti cars have been popping up everywhere!

I’m an Aussie petrol head so I notice cars and brands etc, but honestly since infiniti took on the title sponsorship of Red Bull Racing I can almost guarantee I’ll see one on the road every day. Whereas I could count on one hand the number I’ve seen total on one hand before they took on title sponsorship.

I can has at a guess that’s more to do with Mark Webber being the Aussie racer and the underdog (fitting or own National image) than RBR and Vettels championships.

It would be in interesting to do some research into Infinitis sales figures hereore the past decade.

And if there has been a sharp increase in sales here, (not taking anything away from him) but I wonder if Ricciardos promotion was helped any by Infiniti and Australia’s market share? Jay putting it out there. Personally I think RBR chose the right guy to take Webbers place but I am Biased obviously.


“m an Aussie petrol head so I notice cars and brands etc, but honestly since infiniti took on the title sponsorship of Red Bull Racing I can almost guarantee I’ll see one on the road every day.”

That’s normal: It’s called green car syndrome.



Sorry for the spelling and grammar mistakes. It’s hard to get your thoughts down on a phone without messing up.


Infiniti put their logo on a Red Bull so people know the name. Though it should have had more of their cars at the events to showcase what the company does. Now it is talking about the next step as establishing what it does in the consumer’s mind.

I believe that figure, and hope they put models like the Q50 Eau Rouge in production rather than just saying: “Seb tuned the steering on this so we are totally in sync with F1”


And yet most teams are fielding cars virtually unbranded…

I can’t help feel Nissan missed a trick by not naming the RBR engines and linking up with Sony Playstayion and the GT Academy. How much would it have cost to give the Academy winner an F1 test vs the marketing buzz generated??? Very little surely.

As it happens all I know about Infiniti is they sponsor Red Bull and sell a car named Vettel I have no desire to own.


“the calculated return” is an insult to

human intelligence and all the opinions here show it.


Interesting. I guess I must have seen the Infiniti logo over a thousand times in the last couple of years, but now that I think of it I haven’t got the slightest idea who they are or what they do….


But when they start selling them in your country next year, you will instantly recognize the brand and think “that must be a premium performance car coz Seb drives one”


Like a Renault?


Wow. Out of 24, 23 with -ve outlook on the figure with only one supporting.

For me, the numbers din’t pass the smell test, I’ll leave it there.


It’s interesting.

We’ll do an in-depth piece on Repucom and how the teams and sponsors value F1 activation. Perhaps people will see that there is science to it- and it’s independent!


“What do we stand for” made me laugh.

I may be old school, but the only metric you can use to judge advertising / marketing value is ultimately sales.


About a year ago (maybe a bit less) we were hearing stories about how disappointed Renault was, not to be getting more exposure and praise, from RBR’s success…

I guess this puts things in perspective… sort of. Since Infinity is part of the group Renault is in, I guess they should have taken their complaint up to their own corporate management.

More to the point, though, this ‘value’ seems entirely dependent on success, so if the 2014 rules throw a spanner in the works for RBR, can we expect the Infiniti badges to get smaller?


Renault must surely be a bit cheesed off with this. They supply the Championship winning engine yet the Bull is associated more with Infiniti/Nissan.

I also have a suggestion for the Global Director of Infinity when he asks ‘are we a performance brand or a premium brand…’

How about both, release an Infiniti 5S – that can be your fancy performance machine, available in black, silver and white.

Then, and here’s the cunning bit, release a premium Infiniti 5C, pretend it’s super cheap but don’t sell it for much less than the 5S, but nobody will notice because you can buy the 5C car in lots of hip, cool, funky, wicked, awesome bright colours. Minted 😉


This must explain all the Infiniti car I see on the road nowadays…….. oh wait!!!

Does seem a load of rubbish to be honest. If you ask anyone what raod cars they associate with F1 i’m sure the top answers will be Ferrari & Mercedes.


Guys, Im an engineer. Without marketing guys, we would not have F1. Weather one like it or not, marketing men have have the money. We need them so need to fill them full of nonsense like getting $1bn worth or advertising for $70m. They love that kinda language. They can justify their existence and do a 30 minute power-point presentation to impress the board. Simple as 🙁


Were these figures collated by Mansoor Ijaz of Quantum fame?


Repucom is the agency all the F1 teams and sponsors use for measurement of sponsorship value, audience data figures etc.

They’ve been at it for a long time.


Maybe so, but if you wants facts and statistics you know there’s only one guy you can go to:

The goferet 🙂



Do you know who ownes the shares of Repucom? It couldn’t be any of the Bernie or FOM companies, could it?


My comment wasn’t meant literally. I was drawing a parallel to the figures quoted for the Infiniti campaign and the gentleman who appears to have duped the Lotus team into believing he was a ‘for real’ investor – for mildly comedic purposes. 🙂


Does Mark Webber get a cut? If it wasn’t for him most races would have been unwatchable this season.


Hahaha – I used to be in the marketing field and it’s such a lot of rubbish. So much hot air floating about. Well done to Infinit for spending over $200 mil to achieve zero sales increase, brand loyalty or even proper brand awareness.

After 3 years and that much money you’d think it should be obvious by now exactly who Infiniti are.It’s not even a sponsorship that makes any sense. At least if it was purely a Renault excersise they could bring out limited edition hot hatches again or something and tie that back to F1.


The connection between the Infiniti brand and F1 here in the US is tenuous at best. TV ads for the car frequently begin ‘When your director of performance is 4-time and current world driving champion Sebastian Vettel….’ [with a flash of a helmeted Seb at the wheel of an Infiniti]. The prob is Seb is virtually unknown over here outside of F1 circles so the USD1B figure is open to question f’sure.


Marketing company inflates benefits of marketing expenditure. More as it comes to hand.

Repucom is such a “leading global research company” that it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry. You’d think they’d have astroturfed an entry for themselves by now if that claim was true.


They do all the data and reporting for all the F1 teams and sponsors!


Thankyou for the clarification James. It seems by cynicism should be turned down a notch sometimes!


Interesting that the majority of comments here are by people who have no real idea of positioning strategies and brand alignment yet they feel they know enough to rubbish the claims, results and business model.

This is brand strategy, not marketing strategy. If you don’t know the difference, don’t criticise.

Infiniti have made a great investment with Red Bull. It gives them cut through and credibility in markets that would have cost them far more to get traction in through standard advertising models like TV or press.

Sponsorships don’t need to translate to direct sales. They need to help position the value of a company, so they can charge a premium price for their product and consumers are happy to pay it.

And, yes, I do know what I am talking about. Brand strategy is what I do.


Okay Peter, let’s talk brand strategy. What do I know about Infiniti because of their exposure as a name on an F1 car?

– The F1 car is powered by a Renault engine.

– The F1 car is made in England.

– It was driven by a German and an Aussie.

– It has Pirelli tires.

– something something Red Bull.

So the branding strategy I get from this is that Infiniti, which I know is a car because I’m a Yank, sponsors a car that has an engine made by a French company and is designed and built by mostly Englishmen. And that Infiniti has absolutely nothing to do with this except buy advertising space. Yeah, that helps the branding a lot. I want one of those too. The glitter is not rubbing off.

And by the way, I am aware that Nissan and Renault are associated.


Steve, as most readers here except Peter don’t seem to understand, Infiniti has made an absolute killing on brand exposure!!! I’m suprised the figure is’nt double that size. They’ve used ONE MEDIUM for 70mil per year and expose their brand to various countries, coupled with the fact that RedBull is the leading F1 team at the mo! It really is quite logical, it does’nt need ppl to know who drives the cars or who makes it, their brand is now recognised the world over! Their positioning could’nt have been any better!


So how long have you worked for Infinity? Does your office have a nice view?


I think we can tell that is what you do, because you seem to be the only one that believes this codswallop!


Have been thinking that the “Infinity” brand was a luxury car sold here by either Toyota or Nissan (AKA Datsun) but maybe that’s wrong. Wouldn’t you think, though, that the value of the “exposure” should at some point be translated into a definable (sales) result?


What a missed opportunity by Nissan.

Instead of choosing to sponsor RBR with their Infiniti brand, who make overpriced cars that hardly anyone buys, they should have used the “Nissan” branding, that would have easily improved sales.

With the kind of money required to buy an Infiniti, anyone would be better off buying a German premium brand or a JLR.

As for dreamy Marketing figures, what’s the point of $1billion worth of exposure if it doesn’t improve sales.


Nissan would be in direct opposition to the Renault (same company) name on the engine cover.


It sounds like someone has told them this so that they will spend even more, and I wonder who gets a cut of that.

It’s all hypothetical, what have Infiniti gained as a result of this huge exposure, increased sales for example?


I’m not a marketing expert at all, but what I guess is that this $1B could be about the branding value, and as the brand is kind of an active it could be shown as an earning in an informal way, obviously you won’t see anything of that in the accounting books.


What a bunch of BS. If this is the standard calculation I wonder how much advertising Pirelli got with all the signs around the track(s). Must have been well over that billion dollar mark. Interesting also that the company providing the ‘data’ has Infiniti as a client. Further, if Infiniti got a billion dollars of air time, Red Bull did too, as did any other sponsor on the car. Billions and billions.


I agree, silly numbers.

But since you mention Pirelli, much of what they gained in trackside signs would be negated by endless mouthing of the phrase “these &^((*& degrading Pirelli tires” by everyone from drivers to TV commentators (and blog commenters)


yeah the value of each “impression” … christ they must be attributing Super Bowl (NFL) ad-rate metrics to every single instance of “Infiniti” appearing on screen to come up w/ $1 billion.

I hope James will speak to some unbiased sports marketing professionals to test the validity of these claims and ensure their accuracy.


Did I just read that right?

Did a senior figure from Infiniti (a car company that notably lacks clear definition in the minds of almost all European consumers) just ask the rhetorical question “What do we stand for? Are we a performance brand or a premium brand and that takes time”…


Seriously: Whatever ‘$1billion of advertising value’ really means, this company have paid c.£70million for the last two years to get their name into all the most prominent places in Formula 1 (their name is on so many poles, wins, 2x constructors and 2x drivers trophies). However, me — an avid F1 fan and general petrolhead — still has no more idea than 2 years ago what the Infiniti brand is supposed to represent.

Am I the only one who missed the memo on this? Outside the US (where Infiniti already had traction as a premium brand) has anyone really learned anything useful about Infiniti road cars or Infiniti as a brand from their two years of spend on F1?


Please see my comment above. The Infinity head of marketing is absolutely correct. These are changing times with massive rationalisation in the market going on right now. If nissian wants to compete with Toyota, they need a premium brand. However it is the customer who will tell them whether they are a performance or luxury brand. These things take time and once capitalised in the fixed cost of vehicle manufacture or worse in the minds of the consumer these things are difficult to change. Infinity need to listen and be responsive, and continue to experiment before nailing their pants to the mast. But I only work in marketing… what would I know.


sorry for my ignorance but what does Nissan competing with Toyota have to do with Infiniti ?


@ Kevin.

thanks. that about shows what their “Billion Dollar” advertising has done for them from my point of view.

I think I’ve seen exactly 2 Infinti ads on TV here in Australia. I’ve seen a lot more Lexus ads and Lexus on the roads. I even knew that Lexus was the Luxury Toyota brand even though they don’t advertise that fact.


Infinity is the luxury arm of Nissan. Like Lexus is to Toyota.


Hi! Infinity is the luxury arm of Nissan. Like Lexus is to Toyota.


Excellent point.

By the way even in the US I would say their brand recognition is pretty miserable.


“What do we stand for? Are we a performance brand or a premium brand and that takes time”

Is in reference to what people think of the brand itself.

People who follow the sport are now familiar with the name, now they need to educate them on what their product actually is.


Quick tip: Whenever the word ‘value’ is used by marketeers rather than accountants, don’t wind yourself up by what you read.

It’s like being angry at psychics: sure they speak nonsense, but are people who believe them really worth our pity?

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