x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Shell plans to boost marketing with Ferrari World

Ferrari World's reputation is set to go global as oil giant Shell announces it will boost its sponsorship of the theme park.

Visitors get ready for the roller coaster during the opening of Ferrari World.
Visitors get ready for the roller coaster during the opening of Ferrari World.

Royal Dutch Shell plans to boost its Ferrari World sponsorship activities and is considering promoting its links with the capital's new theme park on a global level.

The oil giant made the disclosure ahead of the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday.

The energy company has had an association with Ferrari for more than 60 years and is a sponsor of Ferrari World, which opened this month.

Richard Bracewell, the general manager of global sponsorship at Shell, said the company planned to increase its promotional activity with Ferrari World. Marketing would centre on the technical aspects of Shell's involvement with F1.

"We'll be doing a lot of activation around Ferrari World," Mr Bracewell said. "It's a great way of demonstrating the technical partnership.

"We could have promotions whereby if people fill up with a tank of fuel, they have an opportunity of winning a trip to Ferrari World, for example. It's good for the business-to-business side as a conference venue."

Shell's promotion of Ferrari World will be mainly regional but could extend worldwide, said Mr Bracewell.

"With our global network, we can help promote Ferrari World and then Ferrari World is a great opportunity for us to take customers there to explain the partnership," he said.

"The biggest opportunity is going to be within the region itself because that's where most business is going to come from."

Etihad Airways, Mountain Dew, CNN and First Gulf Bank also sponsor Ferrari World, which is home to the world's fastest roller coaster.

Shell held an event in Abu Dhabi this week in which its Middle East clients met the Ferrari F1 racing drivers Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.

Mr Bracewell said the GP in the capital represented a "fantastic" return on investment for Shell. He said the company's long sponsorship of Ferrari was "not an advertising ploy".

"For us it's not about brand awareness but it's about demonstrating those products and showing how we work with Ferrari to millions of people," he said. "Formula One is the most watched annual sporting event … so the exposure that you get from being involved in Formula One is huge."

He said Shell was not pursuing any other regional sponsorships. "You can't get much bigger than Ferrari World in this region. So I think we've really got the biggest one we can do."

Seth Holmes, the director of consulting at the sports marketing agency IMG Middle East, said theme park sponsorships could be a particularly effective platform for marketing.

"Once someone is in a theme park you have their attention and can actively engage them with product and service messaging throughout the day," said Mr Holmes. "Contrast that with a 30-second TV spot where consumers are invariably disengaged or looking away.

"Historically, Shell has put a lot of money into Ferrari. They're natural bed partners and it really allows them to demonstrate their products and their brands in action."