To car manufacturers like Vauxhall, motor sport is not really a sport at all. It’s business. The famous adage ‘Win on Sunday, sell on Monday’ is taken so seriously that when car makers go racing in national and international championships, their investment is measured in millions. So, too, is the value of the resulting media coverage.
My PR service
For five years I was responsible for leading the strategy and implementation of PR activities for all of Vauxhall’s motorsport activities. This was a broad remit, covering Vauxhall’s two-car team in the British Touring Car Championship, its entry in the British Rally Championship, title sponsorship of the Vauxhall Rally of Wales, Vauxhall saloon car and single-seater racing series, and rallysprint events staged for TV.
My responsibility for the complete media relations service, for which I also employed two other PR professionals, included the issuing of press releases and media briefings; feature story sell-ins to media; the organisation of media days, inviting journalists to experience Vauxhall’s racing and road cars; scriptwriting of videos; origination of specialist press adverts and championship marketing brochures; and monitoring and evaluation of media coverage.
These PR activities consistently reached national broadsheet and tabloid newspapers, many regional newspapers, lifestyle and airline magazines, popular radio stations, and prime-time television, breaking through to TV shows such as Question of Sport, Blue Peter, and BBC Breakfast. Vauxhall’s total annual expenditure on the account, in fees and expenses, was approximately £200,000; the total annual value of resulting media coverage was typically close to £2 million.