- Coca-Cola will launch a marketing effort for its Burn energy-drink brand in partnership with the Lotus F1 team in 2013, according to a statement by the team.
- The new effort with Lotus will pit Coca-Cola against Red Bull, one of the most vigorous marketers in racing.
- In the meantime, Red Bull Racing on Sunday announced that Infiniti will become its title partner starting in 2013, further upping the ante against competitors.
ATLANTA — Coca-Cola will launch a marketing effort for its Burn energy drink brand in partnership with the Lotus F1 team in 2013, according to a statement by the team.
The deal is a multi-year sponsorship, according to Lotus F1.
"Details of the sponsorship will be revealed in 2013 when the partnership officially launches," the team said.
In the meantime, Red Bull on Sunday announced that Nissan's upscale Infiniti brand will become its title partner starting in 2013, further upping the ante against competitors.
"Red Bull Racing is pleased to confirm today that it has agreed to a four-year extension of its partnership with Infiniti, which first began in March 2011," said the statement on the Red Bull Web site. "The increased agreement will see Infiniti become title partner from 2013, meaning Red Bull Racing's team name will become Infiniti Red Bull Racing from the start of next season."
As part of the expanded partnership, Infiniti's involvement with the team will evolve from being purely commercial to a relationship that is more technologically focused, as the two companies will join together on a number of engineering and development projects, it noted.
Johan de Nysschen, president of Infiniti said: "While our first 24 months have been very beneficial to both parties, our new increased relationship will bring increased advantages to Infiniti and Red Bull Racing. As title sponsor, Infiniti Red Bull Racing will help us garner even more worldwide exposure for our brand, products and technology."
Racing and energy drinks are becoming a natural fit. Energy drinks have become prominent in sports marketing, with TNT, Monster and other brands alongside Red Bull. Emmanuel Seuge, group director for worldwide sports and entertainment marketing for Coca-Cola, praised the "creativity of teams and the passion for speed and energy" of F1 racing.
"Lotus F1 Team, as the number one emerging challenger in the sport, has demonstrated exceptional creativity in their approach to Formula 1 racing and their collaborations with partners," Seuge said in a statement.
However, there was no explanation of the role the Coke product will play regarding the livery of the cars driven by Kimi Raikkonen and a teammate yet to be named for next season. The Burn symbol is a red flame. Romain Grosjean filled the seat of the second Lotus entry this season.
The cars carried the iconic black-and-gold colors of the world championship season of U.S. driver Mario Andretti this season, with the Genii capital investment firm getting primary display on the side pods of the two Renault-powered cars.
"We are excited to partner with Burn to build a new and innovative model for sponsorships that will combine experiences, content creation and social media," said team principal Eric Boullier.
Coca-Cola has "official soft drink" partnership status with NASCAR and several decades ago was involved in race team sponsorship, beginning in 1972 with a Chevy Monte Carlo fielded by the legendary Junior Johnson and driven by Bobby Allison. The company's other sports marketing ventures include the NBA, the PGA Tour and other activities, including the Olympic Games. For several years, it sponsored the English Football League.
Edmunds says: Coke's teasing announcement comes as part of a surge of interest in F1 sponsorship in the wake of the sport's highly successful return to the American market with the November 18 U.S. Grand Prix at the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Also rumored to be interested in sponsorships are MasterCard and Honeywell.