Using A-List talent to win Monaco’s brand awareness race

Why Tag Heuer’s activation with Brady and Bella worked

Paul Garbett, Director of Communications

Whilst watching Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix on television, it was hard not to be impressed by the share of voice gained by Tag Heuer, the official watch partner of the Automobile Club de Monaco and Red Bull Racing.

Aside from the brand’s Grid Girls & Boys – which created a major international news story ahead of the race - Tag’s activation with Super Bowl legend Tom Brady and supermodel Bella Hadid generated huge media attention – with Google News returning over 175,000 articles relating to their attendance at the race.

In the UK, Sky F1’s pre-race coverage included a 3 minute 19 second feature shot on the “Tag Yacht” – featuring interviews with the two ambassadors (with prominent branding & watches visible), content from a PR stunt with Tom Brady and even a presenter question related to the brand’s campaign tagline ‘Don’t Crack Under Pressure’.
 

Both Brady and Hadid were interviewed live on the grid by international broadcasters, often delivering a solid plug to their hosts at Tag Heuer, and their support for the Red Bull Racing team. Broadcasters can be ambivalent - and often opposed to branded content – so here’s four reasons why I think Tag managed to secure such prominence at F1’s jewel in the crown race:



Access, Access, Access
At an event like Monaco, the media are hungry for A-List talent, and in Brady and Bella Hadid, Tag had arguably the two biggest stars in Monaco at their disposal, allowing them to leverage the media through good access, in return for reasonable brand awareness.
 
Positive Media Relations
From speaking to motorsport journalists, it’s clear that Red Bull Racing have made a major effort to open up their drivers and team to the media this season – at a time when other high-profile teams are pulling up the drawbridge. It was therefore no surprise to see Red Bull drivers and sponsors featured so heavily in the build up to Monaco. For example, parts of Sky’s live coverage were presented from Red Bull’s ‘Energy Station’ and another pre-race Bond-style feature saw Sky presenters driving Aston Martin cars, complete with subtle Red Bull team branding.


 
Engaging Content
The concept of Tom Brady throwing a football to Daniel Riccardo off a yacht in Port Hercules must not have taken too long to come up with in a brainstorm. It was a simple stunt that provided some fun visuals for TV – showing that activation ideas don’t always need to be overthought or made too ambitious, to deliver media coverage. It worked because it showcased what their star ambassador does best.
 
A Credible Campaign
Often brands try to force advertising messaging through PR campaigns – without there being a genuine editorial hook to sustain that message. Tag’s #DontCrackUnderPressure finds the right balance – a theme that links to the brand’s values but also provides a rich territory that can be applied to sport and explored in media content.