Tooned McLaren Digital Convergence

Digital has helped shift F1 racing cars’ image away from ‘empty vessels for tobacco sponsorship’, says McLaren’s Rob Bloom


By Jessica Davies | News Editor

March 12, 2014 | 2 min read

Formula One racing cars have traditionally been seen as “empty vessels” for tobacco sponsorship – an image racing teams can now shed thanks to digital engagement strategies, according to McLaren Marketing’s group online manager Rob Bloom.

Speaking at The Drum’s Digital Convergence event in London today Bloom said that Formula One has previously "had a label" for being predominantly associated with tobacco sponsorships, with the result that racing cars are seen as “empty vessels” for conveying these commercial messages.

“The cars have been seen almost like moving billboards driving round with tobacco sponsorship. We have all realised the importance of building brand equity and affinity.

"That’s the whole reason behind our branded content Tooned series, and creating fun build-up content on digital channels in the run up to and post racing events,” he said.

Bloom said the pressure for Formula One teams like McLaren to perform is not isolated to the race track alone, but now equally applies to the digital arena.

“It’s about the power of context and being relevant to the moment. We are riding on the crest of demand at all times, and brands must adapt from inside-out to be right for social.

“The story of relevance isn’t between 2 and 4 o’clock on a Sunday afternoon, it is Wednesday to Wednesday of a Grand Prix week. We acknowledge and understand that people want more, and there are loads of different micro stories that can be told along the way that are in line with the fans’ expectations,” he added.

The branded content series it worked with Framestore to create, called Tooned, was launched as part of McLaren’s plans to widen its audience demographic while appealing to more women.

Bloom said the future road map will centre heavily on diversifying its fan base to appeal to more 15 to 25-year-olds and growing its international audiences in the US and China.

Tooned McLaren Digital Convergence

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