Google is promoting its Chrome browser with out-of-home and social ads to reach Formula 1 fans as the sport grows in popularity.
During the October 21 United States Grand Prix in Austin, TX, the brand was advertised with signs at the airport and at on-site concerts, as well as chrome shuttle buses that could take competitors to the race. The tech giant placed Google Chrome-branded digital ads on social media and had activation on the site.
“We want to start developing an affinity with our brands and F1 fans,” said Adrienne Lofton, global vice president of platform and ecosystem marketing at Google. “We are planning with the Austin Grand Prix[ned] to encourage use and love for the brand [the] The Chrome browser is front and centre, connecting with F1 fans locally and online with engaging experiences that showcase the speed and power of Chrome.”
It’s unclear how much of Google’s advertising budget will be allocated to this campaign, as Lofton declined to share budget details. The brand has spent just over $204 million on advertising so far this year, according to Kantar data. Lofton said the ad spend was split evenly, 50% OOH and 50% digital ads.
On the site, digital creator and podcaster Jessica Smetana asked fans a combination of McLaren and Chrome trivia questions to win exclusive merchandise and goodie bags.
And driver Lando Norris demonstrated Chrome’s speed, completing tasks like making a purchase with saved payment information in seconds, the length of a good F1 pit stop. Norris appeared in three short social ads for Google Chrome’s Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram accounts.
“This association with one of the most watched sports in the world, and without a doubt high-tech, projects the normally accessible brand in a different and hyper-efficient light for everyone at a time when all the major technology companies are struggling to be seen as credible hardware. leading manufacturers and providers of Web 3 innovation,” said Ian Schatzberg, CEO and founder of branding agency General Idea Agency.
In recent years, Formula 1 has grown in popularity, especially among young spectators. From 500,000 viewers in 2018 to nearly 1.5 million viewers in 2022, the average audience for F1 in the US has steadily increased. Additionally, the 2021 US Grand Prix in Austin attracted the largest F1 crowd in history.
“It is smart for Google to partner with McLaren Formula One Racing Team as the sport continues to grow in popularity due to its ability to reach large audiences while continuing to set trends in experiential and digital marketing,” said Olga Andrienko, VP of Brand Marketing at leading SaaS and online visibility company Semrush.
Chrome is still the world’s most popular browser 15 years after it was released, but, as Lofton put it, the tech giant still wants to “get more people to the party.”
“To do that, we need to show up at culturally relevant moments and engage with consumers in new and authentic ways to build stronger relationships with people around the world, especially the next generation,” Lofton said.