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F1: Brands unfazed with low turnout at Buddh International Circuit Email this article Print this article Share on Reditt Google Bookmarks Newsvine Live Bookmarks Technorati Yahoo Bookmarks Blogmarks Del.icio.us ApnaCircle Tweet The author has posted comments on this article John Sarkar , TNN | Oct 25, 2013, 01.02AM IST NEW DELHI: When Lotus driver Roman Grosjean looks to snap up a strong finish at the Indian Grand Prix this weekend, a Rexona anti-perspirant from Unilever will help him keep cool under pressure, says the team's website. The same way Johnnie Walker from Diageo will assist McLaren driver Jenson Button to walk through all odds. And whether or not the stands go half empty at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) this Sunday, top brands feel the value of their association with F1 will go beyond just ticket sales. Says Mohit Beotra, chief brand officer (India) at Bharti Airtel, the title sponsor for the Indian Grand Prix (GP) for the last three years: "There are worries about low turnout and other such things this time, but we are not too bothered about all that. For us, what matters is the global reach that F1 on race day brings to the table. From the grid girls to the trophy, the sheer number of eyeballs that they will garner from across the world will help us reinforce our brand in the 20 countries that we are present in." Aksari Zaidi, senior VP at Jaypee Group, promoters of the Indian GP , agrees that the international media coverage is significant. "We wish the brands involved had done a bit more for the publicity of the GP in India," he said. Airtel's rival Vodafone is set to liquidate its global association with the McLaren F1 team during the event. "As part of the sponsorship, each country's operating company gets to select any small business's logo to be put on the race car when it races in that country," says Naveen Chopra, director, Vodafone Business Services. "This season, Havmor Ice Cream Limited, will have its logo placed on Vodafone McLaren Mercedes cars. This will provide global visibility to the brand as millions of F1 fans tune in from across the world to watch the race." Nevertheless, due to uncertain market conditions, as has been the case with most telecom companies associated with F1 in past, Vodafone will be withdrawing its title sponsorship from McLaren at the end of this year. While buzzwords such as 'speed' and 'technology' lure telecom companies into F1 sponsorship - Blackberry is working with Mercedes and Tata Communications is a technology partner to F1 - banks and financial services companies are drawn in due to the wide reach into emerging markets the sport provides. Apart from FMCG brands that are the newest entrants and alcohol companies, brands related to oil, tyres and automotive industries such as Shell, Mobil, Pirelli, Renault and Mercedes-Benz, among others, are big stakeholders in the sport since F1 helps sell their products. For instance, according to industry reports, if one has to plot GPs and sales of Daimler cars, 90% are sold in countries that hold GPs. Says Eberhard Kern, MD & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India: "We are excited about the third Airtel Indian GP. Our team performance has been strong through the 2013 season and we expect a good race from our drivers at the BIC. Our AMG Driving Academy, which is conducted on the BIC, has received an overwhelming response since its introduction last year. The response to our sales and marketing initiatives around F1 has exceeded our expectation and the enthusiasm levels of our customers are quite high as they eagerly look forward to the upcoming race weekend." Swiss watchmaker Oris, which has been an official partner of the Williams F1 team for 11 years, has launched two timepieces here to commemorate their F1 connection. Says Ankur Rajput, marketing manager at Oris Watches India: "An F1 race is a global opportunity and not just a regional one for marketers. And one cannot be so pessimistic about a niche event, which is only in its third year in the country. If an event as prestigious as the Volvo Ocean Race came to India, would we be thinking about number of spectators? It's just a matter of time." real Louis VuittonÂ£Â¬Louis Vuitton website
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