afaqs!

Force India aims to make F1 popular in India

By , agencyfaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | January 11, 2008
The Vijay Mallya owned Force India Formula One Team will promote F1 racing aggressively in India in the next couple of months

The Vijay & #BANNER1 & # Mallya owned Force India Formula One Team hopes to make it big in India. The team recently announced the three drivers who will be participating in the 2008 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix: Giancarlo Fisichella from Rome, Italy; Adrian Sutil from Germany; and Vitantonio Liuzzi from Locorotonodo, Italy. Fisichella and Sutil will participate as lead drivers, while Liuzzi will be a reserve and test driver.

Commenting on the promotion plans of Force India in the country, Vikram Malhotra, head of marketing, Force India, says, "The main objective for the Force India brand is to establish an identity for itself and aim to make F1 racing a popular sport in India."

When asked if the target audience for F1 racing in India would remain niche, Malhotra is quick to remark, "F1 racing will by no means aim to capture a niche audience. We hope to get into the mind space of the masses and promote F1 racing as another medium of entertainment and engagement. Although cricket is a very big sport in India, we are in no competition with the game. The fact is that so far, F1 racing has not been promoted at all in India. We believe there is a huge audience which can be captured and we have already received substantial response from the audience on the Internet for the Force India community."

Percept D'Mark is promoting the Force India F1 team in India. The first television commercial (TVC) featuring film star Shah Rukh Khan was launched on December 26, 2007. Apart from television, Force India will use print, outdoor advertising and the Internet to promote the brand. The Internet community on the website, www.forceindiaf1.com, is called Club Force. The platform aims to provide Force India F1 team fans an opportunity to share their passion and express their support for India's global sports foray. Within a week's time, the website has registered close to 2,000 members. By the end of this month, Force India will launch the second phase of its campaign, which combines print and Internet advertising.

The 2008 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix championship will start on March 16. In all, the championship will have 18 races, which will go on till September. Vijay Mallya's joint venture company, Orange India Holdings (OIH), purchased the Spyker Formula One Team from Spyker Cars NV in October 2007 and branded the new company as Force India Formula 1. An Indian driver may be included in the team, depending completely on potential.