Formula 1: Season of Stories at Speed
Campaign overview: Putting fans in the driving seat with stories at speed
Build a new, direct relationship with F1 fans to reverse declining interest in the sport
When Liberty Media bought F1 in 2017, neglected fans had cooled on the sport and viewership was in decline. To drive new interest, followers would need to be put first. Liberty and Ogilvy set about creating a ‘season of stories’ about fans’ passions to re-engage the audience.
Faced with making complex rules and perceived repetitive racing more compelling, F1 wanted to turn fans into racing geeks and create a new generation of ‘insiders’, educating and entertaining them in a way that reflected the different passions wrapped up in the sport.
F1 is full of stories and a database of supporters crying out for content. The relentless technical innovation, the drivers, the teams, back-room politics and the unique character of each circuit were fertile ground. The goal was to hook the audience into multiple narratives, treating each race as the latest episode in a great, unfolding drama.
Three editorial-style emails, effectively mini-magazines, made with mobile in mind, supported every race weekend. Friday set up the story; Sunday reacted to the action and Tuesday went in-depth.
The format allowed F1 to roll out its season of stories at speed, as slick and gritty as F1 fans would expect and firing up their passions.
The content included contributions from track-side photographers, who uploaded exciting videos and images to an FTP for the editorial crew to review and remix into graphics and animations.
Out of 48 million emails delivered in the first six months of test-and-learn, F1 and Ogilvy recorded an open rate of 31.9% and CTR at 10.4%. Tellingly, fans are tweeting their love for the content.
Ongoing optimisation is taking place to simplify design and give people more of the stories that were clicked on: evocative images, exciting GIFs used to signpost other content and, surprisingly, hardcore technical stories.
As an account manager/project manager on the F1 account, I was responsible for the delivery of over 30 race weekend emails. Working frequently late nights on Friday's and also over weekends, I co-ordinated content and creative teams in tandem to deliver highly personalised, highly creative and highly engaging newsletter on time to a very happy client. Our team was proud to be awarded a Silver DMA in the 2018 awards for our success on this campaign.