Engineered Insanity – F1 launches its first EVER global marketing campaign
Posted By: James Allen  |  16 Mar 2018   |  10:41 am GMT  |  221 comments

Yes you read that correctly.

You may think that over the years you’ve seen some great marketing campaigns with F1 at the heart and you would be right. It’s an exciting, vibrant world full of amazing characters and extreme imagery.

But it was always the brands, manufacturers and promoters in F1 who were driving it. You could say that it was genius on Bernie Ecclestone’s part to encourage so much great marketing without spending a dime of F1 Management’s own money on developing it. His contribution was to stoke the fires of controversy in the media, not always with positive reflections on F1. But it kept the overheads low.

But Liberty Media, the new owners of F1, certainly do not feel that and a glance around the landscape of Tier 1 sports globally (F1’s peer group) shows that all of them have a significant marketing department. So one of the first things Liberty did on taking over was set up F1’s first marketing department. This is now headed by Ellie Norman.

Today they launched Engineered Insanity ahead of the new F1 season which kicks off next week. Following through on their mission to put the fans at the heart of the proposition, they have centred this campaign on F1 through the eyes of six superfans.

“We want to create a perceptible shift in how people perceive F1,” said Ellie Norman.

“This campaign switches the focus away from our own echo chamber, instead spotlighting why our fans love this sport. Our brief to Wieden+Kennedy London was to translate its raw, exhilarating thrill into something that will transcend its appeal across the entire spectrum of sports fans.

“Last season, we made a promise to our fans to bring them closer and to reshape the sport into something that resembles what they want to see, the gladiatorial conflict at its heart. Nothing we came up with creatively delivered this better than seeing it through the eyes of our most passionate fans. Across the next year and beyond, we will be creating further fan-centred activations at the races, at fan festivals and across F1 social platforms. Watch this space. We are here to excite.”

F1 is hoping the wider F1 fan community will play their part by amplifying the campaign through a series of GIFs and interactive Insta stories.

It’s fair to say that some of the JA on F1 reader community will be all over this, while others will wonder what all the fuss is about and are unlikely to see any evidence going forward of the success of this campaign and its penetration to new people who might be attracted to the sport as a result.

F1 is visceral and raw – although I have to say that the impression created by a 2018 F1 car with its enormous weight and the bulky new cage over the driver’s head looks markedly less visceral than before – but anyway, F1 is trying to tap into that.

What do you think of the F1 campaign? Leave your comments in the section below

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If F1 and Liberty Media think that the broadcast race I was forced to sit thru on ESPN will help their marketing in the US, then the “insanity” part of the new campaign becomes clear. The robo-director ruled, starting and ending the broadcast with the announcers in mid-sentence and dropping big blocks of commercials in with no consideration of the on-screen action. ESPN displayed total disregard for the audience and little understanding of the spectacle F1 can be when properly presented.

Having your media broadcaster in an important market where you want to grow present mediocrity as your product is “engineered insanity.”

Making this even sadder is the great coverage provided by ESPN UK’s website. Someone in that organization know what we want.


The more things change, the more they stay the same… Content blocked.


The more things change, the more they stay the same…


This video is brilliant!! It may look strange to us long time F1 fans (me since the late 50’s), but is bound to appeal to a younger crowd. Liberty is headed in the right direction, IMHO.

Ricciardo Aficionado

One star liberty bot.


Predictably a lot of old school F1 fans are either unimpressed or outright hostile to Liberty’s efforts. I’m neither for nor against a new marketing startegy, but what I think bears repeating again and again: Formula One is foremost a RACING series. Not an engineering series, not a noise-making series, but a racing series. While the technology is an impressive side-note, most people tune in to watch the racing. If the racing is, well, not exactly representative of an actual race, then it defeats the number one principle of the series.

One more thing: many old school F1 fans mistakenly assume that F1 is and always should be for petrolheads. No no no. I’ve been watching since the 1970’s and I am decidedly NOT a petrolhead. I watch F1 for the racing the way I watch Alpine skiing for the racing, mountain bike racing etc etc, sports that do not depend on sheer brute volume and technological wizardry to attract fans.


@Mark V completely agree!


It’s fair to say that some of the JA on F1 reader community will be all over this, while others will wonder what all the fuss is about

from reading the comments it looks like the majority of JAonF1 readers are in the latter category!


Jeroen, very tue, it’s only a clip…..


It was always a rocky road that Bernie chose to lead along , but overall it trended onward and upward due to the sheer numbers of sensible dedicated F1 people in the background. Now Insanity seems to be the leading philosophy! Perhaps, on behalf of the industry and the public, good top people on the new Inside, such as Ross Brawn, could be asked to step outside their own portfolio and try to keep the new boys under control. I hope that the Press and in particular the regular F1 TV presenters do not find themselves too gagged to express their sensible views and stand up for the Sport rather than appear to support the prospective decline.


There are no real characters in F1 these days, with the possible exception of Alonso, and Magnussen with the “Suck my (body part)” line. It’s corporate clones and PR-managed drivel. Where is today’s Ayrton Senna? All this nonsense about “Gladiators” – where are they? Look at Vettel! I’ve seen more meat on a butcher’s pencil!


Utterly dire. Just really dreadful. Liberty *will* destroy F1, I’m now sure of that.


While I appreciate the political will Liberty Media has to move on with the times, The net appeal of that video makes me want to research if Liberty Media is simply an Investment company with the word “media” in its name with no actual experience in media?

The concept was LACKLUSTER and they should have consulted with – at the very least – the various TV broadcasters who have much higher impact Build up videos for F1 for thier respective networks.

I am not talking about target demographics, age etc. For any target group, that video is simply RANK AMATEUR IN CONCEPT.

Hopefully, they will take INPUTS from the established media houses who partner them.. and come up with something more deserving of being a Marketing video for the PINNACLE of Motorsport! 🙂 But I am very happy that they are trying.


i agree. The F1 images and snipets seem to be like a reluctant partner being dragged along by the rest of the video.


I saw the video last week but because of your post I watched it again and I have to admit I couldn’t disagree more with what you’re saying. In my personal opinion, this is a great (short) video and it makes me really excited for the season ahead. I think it’s brilliant what Liberty is trying to do. The only reason I still have a cable subscription is because I have little kids, but even they prefer youtube over whatever cartoon channel is on offer.


this is a great (short) video and it makes me really excited for the season ahead. I think it’s brilliant what Liberty is trying to do.

@Jeroen – Great! Liberty needs some encouragement! 😀

Everything in life is better or worse in comparison to other references.. Some of the the Tv Broadcasters have F1 hype videos which are far more polished than this video – is what I said. I hope the actual 2018 season with Redbull added to the mix turns out far more exciting than all these combined “hype” videos! 🙂


I’m looking forward to Liberty bringing F1 out of the bizarre, often counter-productive and dependably odd octogenarian territory of BernieLand, but I have a fundamental disagreement about selling motorsports with car wrecks. Show us the onboard feeds that made the commentators lose their minds, the fans going nuts, the drivers posing for pics with paying customers, etc and do all the quick cuts you want. Also, we’re sure Bernie’s gone, right? Your link to the vid didn’t play, had to go to youtube :0)


Let me be truly controversial here: I liked it, got the point and see the relevance. Ouch!


Zero information on their OTT service and the season starts in 4 days. Now that is a marketing campaign to be proud of.


Watching Motorsport TV re-run of the 1988 Mot GP.

Brave men taming brutal machines.

Now ‘That’s what I’m talking about!’


The past was nice, remember it but move forward like the rest of the world!


‘Engineered Tedium’ more like.

I’m desperately trying to think of something constructive that may have been contributed by Liberty, but nope, can’t think of anything.


@ Just Sayin’….you mean you weren’t impressed with the new logo? What about the ban on grid ladies? Surely that must have impressed you no end…i mean all that display of varying international ethnic I know…the intro at COTA last year. Now that was a doozy…the racing was just that bit better as a result…. You know, i think that you’re right. hahaha


Nothing special about this ad. Just another fast cutting sports promo like you see for every other sport. Hope they didn’t pay too much for this production…


This clip has no relevance to the current F1. Any new interest generated by this clip will be very disillusioned when they see 2018 races. FAIL


Typical formula one ‘insanity’ when you click the video, it doesn’t play and states that the video has been blocked by formula one management. What a way to get more exposure to the public – make an advert to promote and then slap restrictions on it. Stupidity


Really tough to click the YouTube link, huh!


See that thing flying way overhead? That’s the point, and you’re missing it.

“Amplify” “insta stories”… And the social sharing embed is blocked!


same here….how very Ecclestone of them!


Engineering insanity is probably an accurate and unfortunate description of f1 2018. What were they thinking???


What a load of BS
F1 has its its own following due to its leading edge technology & history handed down now by generation
If they need to speak to females let one of them compete. I suspect the #metoo crowd will be watching for a chance to lynch some bloak for strapping her into the car
Hapy days


@ James….When you post a thread title such as this did you expect the commonality of negative responses? The hard core of posters here could, IMO, constitute a cross section of the so called ‘superfans’ and a substantial number of them have rejected the promo vociferously as being largely ‘fluff’. I’m sure that we’d all like to hear your follow up as that would be informative……

Ricciardo Aficionado

F1 is now being marketed. Of course it’s fluff. It’s for the masses.

If I was Ferrari I’d already be gone.


Yaaaawwwnnnnnnn ….. as I sit here bored brainless at work looking for Formula 1 news (because of course the season starts in less than a week) on the websites ….but wait…..of course I live in Australia… there is none !!! Absolutely pathetic. !


hamilton says he’ll avoid negativity at all cost.

wouldn’t it be polite to describe exactly what this engineering insanity is?


Pretty poor effort.

Didn’t really convey anything visceral or exciting just people getting wet and some YouTube type montage.

Most f1 fans are techies first and sports lovers second that is why we put up with the lean dominant seasons. We see more than just cars circling endlessly.

It’s engineering excellence and human endeavour mixed into one not wwf style dramatics.

I fully endorse liberty’s efforts but I think they’ve missed the target with this first shot.

The pay wall is an issue but Bernie stitched us up on that one and LB are left to deal with it. This marketing campaign will do nothing if we can’t see the sport we love on free to air.

The UK won’t all flock to sky as its too expensive for the average fan. The OTT looks great but we don’t get it so the marketing won’t really reach us anyway.


hear hear

I’ve read all above and hit quite a few “+1’s” .. but this post nails it.

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