McLaren has always taken a dynamic approach to defining its sponsorships. Indeed, more than other "rivals" on the grid, it has always taken advantage of trips to the various tracks to propose targeted collaborations with particular brands.
In some cases it is vote operations to maximize the effectiveness of the campaign when the sponsor has a certain concentration on the geographic area where the event takes place. Other times it is a system to be able to offer level visibility by alternating investor logos taking advantage of the large number of races on the current calendar.
In the current season, the stable has shown a very "pushy" alternation that has led to the livery of the MCL 36 varying at virtually every appointment.
When we have just left the Hungarian Grand Prix behind us, we can already count at least 6 different variants. Most affected are the front bellies and bulkheads, among the few areas moreover that have not undergone the de-coloring necessary to reduce the vehicle's maximum weight.
We take this opportunity to delve deeper into what these companies are involved in and what their arrangements are with the English team. Two main strands emerge in the commodity areas of the companies involved. On the one hand that of the various brands controlled by British American Tobacco that allow them to circumvent the veto on the promotion of smoking-related products. On the other is the world of large-scale retail and fuel dispensing.
The basic platform for these agreements-which also involve other team investors-is the so-called McLaren Accelerator: a program that enables the application of the racing world's approach to the study and analysis of industrial issues to boost performance and results.
The idea of BAT, the team's main investor and tied to it for 4 years, is precisely to take advantage of what is known as "dynamic branding": basically drawing from the list of products and services directly controlled or participated in by the parent company to offer visibility to a range of entities based on predefined strategic choices.
The brands that have appeared so far are Velo, Vuse, A Better Tomorrow, EG Group, Autogrill, OTR and Circle K.
The BAT Galaxy
A Better Tomorrow is the Payoff and a brand of British American Tobacco that represents a range of alternative products to cigarettes. These kinds of positive messages are a prerogative of this industry in order to continue to invest in sports competitions. Consider, for example, Philip Morris' "Mission Winnow" brand.
Vuse is an electronic cigarette company that has been working with McLaren Racing since as early as 2020. It is one of British American Tobacco's brands.
Velo produces nicotine delivery systems: this is an idea that originated in Scandinavia and is now also part of the BAC (British American Tobacco) galaxy.
Chains and large retailers
EG Group is a chain of gas stations and fast food restaurants active in England, Australia and the United States. The collaboration took place at the French Grand Prix at the Le Castellet circuit.
OTR, an acronym for On The Run is a chain of supermarkets and gas stations found mainly in South Australia. It also has an app that provides easy access to different shopping systems ranging from simple coffee, to groceries, to fuel. It is owned by Sam and Yasser Shahin, a well-known family in the country and very active in local motorsport. This solution was obviously used in the Australian Grand Prix and was possible because of B2B agreements between BAT and the chain.
Autogrill is the well-known multinational catering company born in Italy and present on roads throughout the country and beyond. Sponsorship is especially active in calendar stops where BAT products are not sold.
Circle K is a large supermarket and gas station chain based in Canada and active on home soil as well as in the United States, Canada, Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea. It made its appearance on the sides of Woking's single-seaters right at the Grand Prix on the Montreal circuit, which is strategic for brand exposure.
Tomorrowland and OXXO
Austria's MCL 36 saw the appearance on the sides of the Tomorrowland logo. Unlike the main strands in this case we are talking about an electronic music festival that has been taking place for over 15 years in the second half of July in Belgium, specifically near the town of Boom. The same dynamic had taken place last year, and the initiative enjoys the "blessing" of BAT as support for the music sector particularly affected by the pandemic years. Not to be underestimated is the presence of the word tomorrow in the name of the event and in the tobacco giant's paoff "A Better Tomorrow."
Following what happened last year, we can expect a further variation of liveries: in fact, the 2021 Mexican Grand Prix saw the appearance of the OXXO logo on the British cars. this is a Mexican large retail chain. This presence can also tie in with the efforts of local driver Pato O'Ward, who races with Team McLaren itself in the Indycar championship.
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