The 109-year-old heritage brand Aston Martin is a British icon. To stay relevant to “customers of the future”, however, it is handing over control of its F1 brand story to TikTok creators.
In 2021, Aston Martin returned to Formula One after a 60-year hiatus from the sport. Orchestrating the marketing around this historic moment has been Rob Bloom, the chief marketing officer who joined the team last January after a nine-year stint at McLaren.
Bloom says the timing was perfect, with social media and Netflix’s Drive to Survive series having reinvigorated fan engagement with F1. The 10-part docuseries brought in 50 million views after it landed in 2020, with the show credited for boosting broadcast ratings of the sport and bringing F1 to a US market long dominated by Nascar.
”Drive to Survive has been one of the most significant marketing plays the sport has ever seen,” says Bloom.
While F1 has previously brought A-list celebrities trackside to boost the sport’s reputation, Bloom says that’s a thing of the past, with fans now craving more authentic stories. And so, in what he calls a “bold step“, Aston Martin has released its control to let creators tell its story. ”They can do a better job at telling our story than we can,” he says.
It is his ambition at Aston Martin to “redefine” the role of F1 fans by creating a marketing platform built by the fans. TikTok will be the primary tool for his creator-led strategy and Aston Martin has already made some big steps in this space, appointing TikTok as its official creator partner for its Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 car launch.
The AV-led car launch campaign, which was conceived by agencies Unit9 and Cake, was live-streamed for six hours on TikTok, with creators publishing exclusive content and hosting hashtags.
“There is an opportunity to engage a broad audience on a global scale, but also the storytelling opportunity about the role of tech and data that tells our brand positioning,” he adds.
“We are trying to create a platform that creates community around the fans and the stakeholders to make them part of the story.”
Leveraging F1 to market Aston Martin road cars
In 2021, Aston Martin rebranded the Racing Point F1 team to Aston Martin F1 to engage F1’s 85 million fans and increase the desirability of its road cars.
“Aston Martin is a brand that is hugely respected and admired around the world, but with F1 we are giving people an entry point that had been kept behind the red rope before,” says Bloom. He adds that F1 is the entry point into Aston Martin, helping it tap into younger audiences who might not be able to afford a road car now but are the “customers of the future”.
To connect the F1 team with the road cars Aston Martin has a consistent style across its marketing and communications. “It’s incredibly important that when people see our F1 team they instantly see the road cars.”
Bloom is also in the early stages of leveraging data from its F1 fanbase to incorporate into its consumer marketing plans. Working with data firm Cognizant and the Havas network, Aston Martin plans to marry up data including ticket attendance, F1 shop merchandise and broadcaster viewership to identify potential customers of Aston Martin road cars.
Bloom admits sport is still ”playing catch up in the capturing that data the consumer world is used to,” but that working with partners like Cognizant sports can utilize its ”rich data”.