Martini looks to stir up conversation at Monaco Grand Prix with return of 'driver distracting' billboard

Drivers including Jenson Button and Felipe Massa generated huge media attention for Martini after publicly commenting on the ad

Martini’s branding is synonymous with Formula One – its marketing around the sport going as far back as 1972. Now the brand looks to be channelling some of the dated attitudes from that era after announcing the return of its track side billboard featuring model Jessiqa Pace.

Drivers such as British world champion James Hunt helped perpetuate the playboy image which became synonymous with motorsport throughout the 70s and, while the presence of grid girls still echo yesteryear’s hyper veneration of masculinity, the sport has largely shrugged off its Ron Burgundy like eccentricities.

Martini has not shied away from leveraging this aspect of the sport throughout its marketing though. The Bacardi-owned brand generated widespread media attention for its billboard at the 2009 Monaco Grand Prix with several publications reporting that the image of model Jessiqa Pace had distracted the drivers and even caused Lewis Hamilton to lose control of his car.

Jenson Button help accentuate the value of the ad when he remarked in an interview: "Every time you passed her, it was as though she was looking right at you."

Now Martini has proudly announced that its ad starring Pace would return to the most glamorous race on the F1 circuit.

“This year marks Martini’s return to Monaco since the historic incident,” said Caroline Hipperson, global brand director for the brand. “Bringing Jessiqa back is our way of injecting some fun and glamour into the sport and creating memorable moments for fans.”

Martini says this weekend at the Monaco race it will position the images of Pace “safely out of the eye-line of F1 drivers” and will instead “delight” racing fans flying in via helicopter with her face appearing on Monaco’s busiest heliport.

Hipperson added: “We’ve learned a few lessons since 2009 so we hope Jessiqa reminds fans of the pure joy of racing, but from her new, less distracting location.”

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Tony Connelly

I cover media, marketing and sponsorship news within the sports industry. This includes breaking news as well as writing feature pieces with insights from experts in the sports marketing world.

All by Tony