Fernando Alonso is a global star and an extremely clever man.
Two-time Formula 1 champion and multiple time race winner, Alonso is already considered a living racing legend. In over ten years in F1 he has driven for the most popular teams, such as Ferrari, Renault and McLaren, represented iconic brands and developed an enormous fan-base around the world.
Eloquent, elegant and competent, Alonso is a perfect ambassador for any brand. And after years of representing different brands, he is now also an entrepreneur and has developed his own brand: KIMOA.
KIMOA is a fashion brand targeted at young-adventurous consumers. They develop high quality t-shirts, caps, sunglasses, sweaters, hoodies and much more. All with great designs, insightful color combinations and great appeal.
And how has the brand been recently exposed? Understand the logic now.
Understanding The Scenario and Background
- The Formula 1 environment: Formula 1 is a very controlled environment where all commercial spaces are carefully measured and sold. Displaying any brand has to go through a detailed and extremely expensive process and is mostly restricted to the teams and organizers.
- Personal driver sponsors: All drivers have personal sponsors. But exposure is very limited. Drivers often only have their helmets, caps, sunglasses and drink bottles to expose personal sponsors (Not considering large personal sponsors, displayed on the car livery). What does this mean? It becomes very difficult to display an independent brand.
- McLaren-Honda Struggles: From 2015 until 2017, Alonso’s F1 team (Mclaren-Honda) faced great performance difficulties which gave him almost no chance to win races. For an extraordinary driver as him, it must have been very difficult.
Facing this scenario, Alonso had possibly two personal objectives objectives: Regain the opportunity to win races and have fun racing, and at the same time, the need to expose his new brand.
How is Alonso’s Brand Exposure So Clever?
Alonso informed the media in 2017 that he had a new challenge as a driver: To win the “Triple Crown”. The “Triple Crown” in the motor racing world means winning the three most prestigious races: Monaco Grand Prix (Formula 1), Indianapolis 500 (Indy Car) and Le Mans 24 hours.
Each of those race of is unique in nature, requires different driving skills and are part of different racing categories. Furthermore, only person in history had previously won it: Graham Hill in 1972.
Winning it again this incredible achievement would make Alonso an even greater racing legend than he already is and place him on a very unique place in history.
Thus, the general curiosity and publicity around this new goal was enormous: Which represents a perfect scenario for brand exposure.
1. Indianapolis 500 (Indy car, USA)
In early 2017 Alonso announced he would participate at the Indianapolis 500. It was an absolute shock for everyone, as it is simply one of the most iconic races in the world and he would miss the (also iconic) Monaco Grand Prix.
Consequence? All eyes were now on him outside Formula 1. What this means is that, from a consumer perspective, attention, interest and emotional perception levels were higher. Again, a perfect scenario to display any brand.
The global curiosity and repercussion was incredible. His first practice with the Indy car on the classic Indianapolis track was broadcasted live on YouTube for over a million of viewers across the globe.
And once Alonso put his helmet on, what did viewers see? KIMOA. Meanwhile, he was delivered a great amount on content on social media, while wearing the KIMOA brand Simply brilliant.
Racing outside the Formula 1 environment allows greater flexibility of sponsorship and publicity deals. Plus, the interest of organizers in having Alonso gives him greater power to design contracts that allows him to display his own brand.
During the event all objectives were achieved: Placed his new brand globally, drew attention of the media for himself, competed in one of the most prestigious races in the world with a true chance of winning, showing all his driving skills and having a great deal of fun.
After leading the race for many laps and making many fantastic overtakes, Alonso unfortunately retired with an engine failure.
But from personal and commercial standpoints, it was a brilliant move.
I told you the man is clever.
2. Daytona 24 Hours (IMSA, USA)
At the start of 2018 Alonso adventured once again racing outside Formula 1 and again in the USA (largest consumer market in the world).
This time, at the classic Daytona 24 Hours. And this time, KIMOA had much greater brand exposure.
It was displayed not only on his helmet, but also on racing overalls, caps, helmet and on the car livery during a 24 hour race.
All being broadcasted globally live, online and for free. And yes, all eyes were on the two-time Formula 1 champion.
This represents an extraordinary brand exposure. He also developed a personalized cap for the event, displaying the American colors to create a direct connection between the local audience and the brand.
Alonso did not win the race neither made to the podium. However, once more, the brand was communicated and he expended his personal and commercial brands. And most importantly, had a great deal of fun on a classic race before the Formula 1 season begins.
3. Le Mans 24 Hours
Alonso and Mclaren have also informed that he will drive this year on the Le Mans 24 hours. Another classic race, with global exposure, fantastic cars and millions of fans around the world.
Another opportunity for fantastic product placement and for him personally to achieve his new dream: “The Triple Crown”.
The brand exposure of Kimoa is not limited to events. Alonso has also developed fantastic content, reaching the consumer and portraying behaviors that are congruent with the values of the brand.
For example: During the weekend of the Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2017, Alonso delivered personally packages of products for consumers that had bought them online. Detail: riding a skateboard through the street of Tokyo. Excellent!
Partnership with McLaren
In the end of 2017, Alonso signed a multi-year deal with McLaren for KIMOA to be the official surf-wear partner of the team.
This represents an extremely innovative deal between driver and his racing team, never seen before in Formula 1 and one to certainly be appreciate.
This only comes to show his vision for the business and understanding of unique opportunities. I told you Alonso is a very clever man.
Innovation is crucial in competitive markets, such as the fashion industry. Alonso has created a new and exciting brand with great products and found a very clever way of exposing it, developing his career and regaining driving pleasure.
All at once.
KIMOA is a brand that is here to stay and grow. I have no doubt the brand will only develop with time, through Alonso’s vision and with the innovative approach shown.
There are always new ways of making old practices.
Finally, as a true fan, I really hope he achieves the Triple Crown.
I’ll certainly be watching.