Hookit’s Motorsport Insight | Analysing social engagement and sponsorship value of F1 2021 liveries

BlackBook official data partner Hookit analysed one of the biggest off-season developments in Formula One, the build-up to and the release of the 2021 liveries.

The 2021 Formula One season begun on 28th March. But before that, spontech specialist Hookit analysed the social engagement and sponsorship value behind the release of the teams' car liveries.  

The livery reveal is perhaps the biggest moment of the offseason for teams. As these reveals have become digital-first events, Hookit tracked the posts by the teams and drivers, the engagement by fans, and the value for sponsors that these events generated.

The methodology behind this sees all posts by the team and their drivers tracked during the dates around the livery reveal, from two days before the launch through to three days after, capturing the momentum leading up to and coming out of the event. Hookit's data covers all posts during this time period by the teams and drivers rather than just the ones that had the livery reveal branding, such as #MCL35M for McLaren, in order to provide a more complete analysis. By looking at all the posts, Hookit gathered brand value from the livery reveal and the brands that benefit from the momentum it generates with fans.

The chart below details the data around fan engagement and the adjusted ad value (AAV) – Hookit's key sponsorship metric – from the teams and drivers.

The teams took different approaches with these releases, with McLaren and Aston Martin each posting more than 200 times during the livery reveal period. Other teams didn't capitalise on the moment as much, with Alfa Romeo and Williams posting less than 50 times combined with their drivers during the reveal period. That comes through in the social engagement as well, with McLaren generating the most fan engagement with more than 46 million interactions and video views combined. That's more than double any other team in Formula One, with Red Bull Racing coming in second with less than 20 million. 

While fan engagement is key, this is also a big moment for sponsors, especially new ones on the livery. When it comes to sponsorship value generated during these reveals, Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes, and Aston Martin rise to the top, each generating more than US$1 million in AAV for their partners, including their namesake brands.

On a per post basis, Red Bull Racing remains at the top with Mercedes and AlphaTauri driving the second and third most AAV per post during their livery reveal period. Those top three teams each averaged more than US$10,000 in sponsorship value for brands per post, indicating they generated high fan engagement and had clear, quality promotions for their partners. When it comes to portraying their partners in the best way, the Aston Martin team did very well when it comes to average promotion quality, leading the field at 38 per cent. 

Beyond looking at total value generated during the period, Hookit also looked at the percentage of total sponsorship value generated by the team and drivers during the traditional reveal period from 1st January through to 25th March. From this perspective, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, and AlphaTauri stood out, with each team-driver trio generating more than 30 per cent their total sponsorship value for the year during this six-day period of their livery reveal. In contrast, Williams, and Haas generated the lowest percentage of offseason value during the livery reveal period, driving less than 20 per cent of their sponsorship value during the livery reveal period.

Note: A previous version of this article had incorrectly low values for the Alpine F1 team when it comes to AAV and promotion quality. These values have been updated in the table and where referenced in the article.

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