Johnnie Walker new partner for McLaren

Team McLaren Mercedes is pleased to confirm that it has entered into a long-term Partnering agreement with Johnnie Walker, the world's number one Scotch whisky, which sells in almost 200 markets all over the world. The famous Johnnie Walker...

Team McLaren Mercedes is pleased to confirm that it has entered into a long-term Partnering agreement with Johnnie Walker, the world's number one Scotch whisky, which sells in almost 200 markets all over the world.

The famous Johnnie Walker brand and 'striding man' will prominently appear on the side of the engine cover of the Team McLaren Mercedes cars for the first time at the Turkish Grand Prix on 21 August 2005. In addition the Johnnie Walker branding will appear on Kimi Raikkonen's, Juan Pablo Montoya's, Alex Wurz's and Pedro de la Rosa's overalls, as well as on the uniforms of Team McLaren Mercedes personnel.

The sponsorship links the classic Johnnie Walker brand with Team McLaren Mercedes and Formula One, which are capable of matching Johnnie Walker's aspirations and values on a truly global scale. Involvement in the professional, precision and technology-driven environment of Formula One creates a powerful and highly visible platform from which to communicate with consumers about individual choice and responsible drinking.

The issues of responsible drinking and individual choice are at the heart of debates on alcohol. Through this pioneering Partnership Johnnie Walker will tackle these issues directly.

Drawing on the success of Diageo's sponsorship of NASCAR in North America (with the Smirnoff Ice and Crown Royal brands), Johnnie Walker's relationship with Team McLaren Mercedes will demonstrate that beverage alcohol companies can effectively promote responsible drinking and change consumer attitude to over-consumption and drinking and driving.

In addition to its annual sponsorship and marketing investment, the brand will spend £2 million every year directly on responsible drinking programmes in Grand Prix markets.

Marketing Director for Johnnie Walker, Charles Allen, explained: "Around the world, Johnnie Walker is recognised as an icon of personal progress. It is international, high-status, sophisticated and dynamic. Team McLaren Mercedes and Formula One match all these characteristics and provide a fantastic platform to engage consumers with excitement and passion.

"At the same time we will use the sponsorship to communicate individual choice and what we believe responsible drinking is really about. We will do this through advertising themed on responsible drinking which will be capable of working around the world. In individual markets, we will invest in locally led programmes to address the issues of greatest importance in each market."

"Consumer engagement at two levels -- the excitement and status of Formula One and the control and judgement necessary to deliver success in this most competitive sport - is the key to Johnnie Walker's approach."

"Our branding on Team McLaren Mercedes' 2005 season car will be executed with discretion. Johnnie Walker is recognised in nearly 200 markets. We want to explore more opportunities to engage and motivate the 25 to 35-year-old consumers who are critical to both Johnnie Walker and Formula One," said Allen.

"When we looked at Formula One, the choice to partner with Team McLaren Mercedes was an easy one to make. They are an extremely professionally run team with great ambition and have in our view the most exciting and eye-catching driver line-up in Grand Prix racing -- Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya," explained Allen.

"We believe that this sponsorship will help us take Johnnie Walker to a new level in terms of its attractiveness to consumers around the world. I think our investment is also a vote of confidence in the future of Scotch Whisky. Johnnie Walker is the first Scotch Whisky brand to enter Formula One -- I believe that is important for the long-term recognition and health of the category."

Ron Dennis, Chairman and CEO, McLaren Group said: "McLaren is supported by highly-valued, long-term partnerships with some of the world's most distinguished brand names. We're delighted to welcome Johnnie Walker to join this group."

"Working with Johnnie Walker and our other partners, we will enter the 2005 season with a new car, two competent drivers and aim to pose a strong challenge. It's a great time for Johnnie Walker to join us and the whole of Team McLaren Mercedes welcomes them. We look forward to winning together."

Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport added: "The commitment of Diageo to join our team with their world-renowned brand Johnnie Walker is another good signal demonstrating the attractiveness of Formula One in general, and especially our team for prestigious sponsor partners."

"Diageo's plan to use their involvement with Johnnie Walker as a platform for responsible drinking messages will be strongly supported by us as it is an important aspect of our partnership."

The Johnnie Walker Global Brand Team which will lead the sponsorship for the brand will examine opportunities to speak to consumers about Johnnie Walker, Team McLaren Mercedes and Formula One through advertising, relationship marketing - such as email - on and off trade promotions and through specific responsible drinking initiatives tailored to meet the needs of individual Johnnie Walker markets.

The commitment to engage consumers on individual choice and responsible drinking is integral to the sponsorship. This commitment is fully supported by Team McLaren Mercedes whose reputation for success in Formula One has been built on a commitment to professionalism, rigorous standards and supreme organisation.

Speaking on this subject Ron Dennis stated: "Responsibility is as critical on the highway as it is on the racetrack. I know we will work together on ways to inspire people to take that responsibility -- to strive for higher standards in their driving and in how they approach those times when they are not driving -- when they want to enjoy themselves."


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Mercedes , McLaren