Speed is often used as a positive value within commercial campaigns. This is evident when speed is linked to sports, specifically those disciplines in which it is one of the goals or the ultimate goal.
It is therefore no coincidence that it has always been very common to use this parallelism to emphasize capabilities and performance of services and products. Over the decades, such juxtaposition has gradually become more conceptual. The areas mainly used as inspiration are, it is clear, the disciplines of athletics, motor sports and, more recently, so-called extreme sports.
By analyzing our "area of expertise," we can make a quick survey of this phenomenon.
In the past, it was the vehicle manufacturers themselves who used competitions to validate their technology and promote performance over competitors. Then came the turn of all the suppliers and companies involved in various ways in achieving maximum performance: fuels, lubricants, tires, brakes, suspension, mechanical components in general. Today we can say that "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" is no longer the main reason that drives automotive and motorcycle groups to deal with the complex dynamics of sports management.
Rather, we speak of stages where to create greater brand awareness and reputation, functional to certain sales and positioning objectives. Speed has long since ceased to be a salient feature in determining purchase intent for a vehicle, except for those with more specialized use.
It follows that motorsport has become an excellent landscape in which to promote more "metaphysical" concepts of speed, useful for giving shape and depth to increasingly virtual products. Here, then, are cars, motorcycles, and drivers (but just think also of all the examples of sprinters, swimmers, athletes in general) becoming the real paradigm of a potential and invisible capability.
The speed of travel, of connections, of transactions, of shipping, of getting things done. At a time when younger segments of the population, especially those in the West, appear less and less interested in the hustle and bustle of means of locomotion, new opportunities present themselves to marketing.
In fact, the introduction of new technologies shows that while the "futurist" conception of speed as an absolute value falls short of new community priorities, the need to be able to reduce the time of certain operations simply shifts to other levels. If we compare the 20th century to the present century, it is evident how the unbridled race for physical speed has been gradually replaced by the speed of communication. At a time when it is possible to communicate and share experiences in almost every area of the planet, the need to reach the physical places once essential for the performance of certain functions in the shortest possible time becomes less pressing. The speed of airplanes, ships, and trains has not varied significantly in recent decades, road limits are the same or nearly the same since the introduction of the highway code, and indeed are increasingly moving toward slowing down, especially in city areas. The concorde was a beautiful suggestion that the current world does not seem to need, the fascination with science fiction projects has been replaced by the quest for greater efficiency and less impact.
Wanting to give some examples of areas affected by time reduction:
Speed of a vehicle: although less present than in the past we can find flourishing examples having been one of the most traveled roads. Valentino Rossi with Opel Adam, Honda Civic etc.. Loris Capirossi with Aprilia, Jean Alesi for Gilera, Michael Schumacher for Fiat. In 2017 Honda carried out a campaign to emphasize precisely the link between its series production and the examples that are engaged on race tracks around the world.
Many companies promote the speed of delivery of their products as a competitive advantage. For example, e-commerce companies such as Amazon emphasize fast delivery of their products to attract customers who want to receive what they have purchased quickly. It is no coincidence that DHL has been an official partner of the Formula 1 World Championship for several years and is responsible for all the logistics of the series. It also holds the role of main sponsor for one of Team Andretti Motorsport's cars in the Indycar Championship. It also maintains a strong presence in TCR, drag racing and Formula E.
Remaining among logistics companies, we can include the case of Comet. This U.S. company has its core business precisely in the speed of shipping and the ability to adapt to different contexts. It is no coincidence that their claim broadly reads "from envelope to elephant, if you need speed Comet is the right choice." To further support this campaign in 2019, Comet's logo appeared on the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driven by Landon Cassill for the StarCom Racing team in the Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series. The partnership came to fruition at the last race of the season at the Homestead circuit in Homestead, Miami.
A 10% discount was provided for all customers who entered the code "COMET RACING" when placing an order. Certainly an excellent example of engaging one's target audience.
Other famous cases include UPS with Ferrari or FedEx's sponsorship of Joe Gibbs Racing Team cars in Nascar, just to name a couple.
In the context of services, speed can be a crucial factor. For example, a home food delivery company can emphasize the speed with which meals are delivered to customers, highlighting the convenience of having fresh, tasty food quickly. in late 2016, Deliveroo reached an agreement to sponsor Team Manor Racing in Formula 1 for some specific races. Unfortunately, the British team's adventure ended before such synergy could develop. Since 2021, the famous fast food chain Subway has been supporting Kevin Harvick in his return to Nascar with Team Stewart-Haas: in this case, the idea is to promote the Subway Delivery service powered by DoorDash.
Speed of action
Some products or services are promoted by emphasizing the speed with which they can solve a problem or meet a need. We can think, for example, of the speed of obtaining a claim from an insurance group. Or, in the case of a protection software such as an antivirus, the speed of response to threats and the ability to "run" in step with the evolution of new hacking systems is certainly a plus. A specific example is that of Crowdstrike is a cybersecurity platform that has long invested in motrsport to convey these concepts. It is currently involved with its own team in Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS, GT America Powered by AWS, and Pirelli GT4 America in addition to participating in individual events in other championships.
Speaking of education or training, speed can be presented as an advantage. For example, an online learning platform might promote the speed with which users can acquire new skills or knowledge. So too can artificial intelligence-based systems highlight the short time frame with which software can perform diagnoses and find solutions.
In telecommunications, internet connection speed is a key element for many consumers. Companies offering mobile phone or broadband connection services can emphasize the speed of their network to attract customers who want a fast and reliable connection. The list of examples is long: recent examples include Charles Leclerc for Sky WiFi, Andrea Migno for Just Speed, or Filippo Tortu for Fastweb. In the recent past, it was a provider like Sprint that became the main sponsor of Nascar's apex championship, the Cup Series.
In summary, in advertising, the concept of speed is often used to create a sense of urgency, efficiency, and competitive advantage. While we are no longer interested in having a car that is one second faster on the "0-100" than the previous model, it is equally true that we demand to be able to transfer money almost instantaneously, to have a connection that allows us to use all our devices and their applications to their full capacity. Our smartphones must take photos and videos and then be able to share them in the shortest possible time, we expect to be able to make financial transactions in real time so as not to miss the most propitious moments, book trips, stays, dinners, professional services with a click, and so on.
It is reasonable to imagine that with each advance achieved by technology there are one or more fields in which speed ceases to be important and as many for which conversely it begins to be a discriminant on the goodness of a product or service.
Thus, for a company, motorsport guarantees not only the possibility of reaching vast audiences but also of being able to associate its name with concepts that emphasize its performance. We at Fastback can help you devise an effective strategy and identify the most appropriate context for applying it. Please feel free to contact us and keep following our blog for new insights!