Race Blog
Spain 2008

Pulling their (green) socks up.

Brand identity. In the image-obsessed world that is Formula 1 it’s just about the most important item on the list.

For a case study in how to get it wrong, see Honda 2007 – for the flipside, see Honda 2008. Last year’s Earth Car project could not have been executed in a more disjointed fashion. Just take a look at the branding: the car didn’t match the garage, the garage didn’t match the mechanics, the mechanics didn’t match the drivers; and so it went on, a good idea presented to the world in a confusing and convoluted manner.

Obviously someone at Honda, or 19 Entertainment – the über-successful marketing company responsible for such brands as the Beckhams’ – realised the error of their ways and changed tack.

This year the team is a vision in white, green and blue, presented in a clean and fresh manner. The drivers, with their twin-stripes-on-white overalls, invoke memories of heroic ’60s racers – making Jenson look like a Steve McQueen-esque figure. The car looks equally cool and the ‘motorhome’ is a joy, exuding a welcoming, sophisticated and healthy café society vibe.

The whole ensemble works to such a degree that although I wouldn’t advise wearing them on the High Street, even the lime green trousers look good(ish).

On the technical side, the team are pulling their no-doubt-green socks up too. Ross Brawn, back from a year hooking monster fish worldwide, has his work cut out but the multi-Championship-winning former Ferrari man is confident of success.

While the whole ‘earthdreams’ initiative may be mocked by some, it’s at least refreshing to see a different and (to many people) inspiring marketing strategy in a sport that can often seem stuck in the dark ages when it comes to getting the message across.

Please now click on the ‘Formula One’ link at the top of the page to enjoy my pictures from the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix.

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