The British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) has been captivating millions of fans since its inception in 1958. It’s an action-packed environment filled with excitement, a love for speed and is the perfect platform for marketing products to car enthusiasts. For WIX UK, our involvement in the British Touring Car Championship is a marketing opportunity that we couldn’t ignore, gaining brand recognition by millions of fans.
WIX UK has been involved in the British Touring Car Championship for a few years now, and it’s been a great relationship for us. The idea was born from talking to our colleagues in the USA. I knew that they supported a team in the NASCAR series and I wanted to do something similar in the UK. So what was the equivalent? Naturally, I thought of Formula 1 but, after a very short phone call to a low level team, realised that the budget wouldn’t get us anywhere.
The right match with BTCC
I then looked at the BTCC which is a series of 30 saloon car races run at 10 tracks across the UK. I talked about possible sponsorship to a few teams who gave us the whole professional presentation backed up by statistics. However, I found an ideal match when I met a driver who at the time was self-funding his races. As it was late in the 2012 season with just 2 ½ weeks before the last round, I took a chance and WIX sponsored the whole car. It was then up to the WIX team to make the most of the investment. Within that fortnight, we had launched a team website, designed and produced a wrap for the car, had coats embroidered with the WIX team logo, and invited a group of 20 customers to come and join us at Brands Hatch, a racing circuit a few miles south east of London.
The thrill of the race
On race day itself, I was so proud of our WIX branded car. It was an amazing sight. Our guests enjoyed the hospitality and the electric atmosphere, too. Unfortunately, just after the start of the race, the driver flipped the car over on the second turn but luckily walked away uninjured. However, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining – the race was broadcast live on TV so the cameras focused on the damaged car for quite a few minutes. We got more coverage and brand recognition than we had ever had previously. For days afterwards, customers kept mentioning seeing the car on TV – both upright and upside down – and the crash didn’t seem to do any damage to our reputation.
A win/win for everyone
Despite the accident, I knew that this was something we needed to do every year (the sponsorship, not the crash!). Since the 2014 season, we’ve been teaming up with Adam Morgan at Ciceley Motor Sport as the WIX racing team. It is a great way for us to entertain clients; they certainly do love the sights and sounds of the race. With races across the UK, the vast majority of our customers are near one of the tracks. It is a very relaxed atmosphere and no one goes for hard-sell tactics. I see the races as opportunities to develop a very personal relationship with our customers. The team has been doing well in the races too. In the last two seasons, Adam is the only driver to have finished all races. Over his career, he has had four wins and 13 podium positions.
Making the most of sponsorship
Together with a high-profile marketing campaign, including social media, we’ve developed a cool and credible team brand. We also have a branded Mercedes A180, a less engineered copy of the car Adam drives, which we use for promotions, engagements and trade shows. It has given the WIX brand in the UK a very welcome boost.
And the bottom line? Sponsorship certainly has seen results. It has helped lift sales, build brand recognition, and loyalty in a way I think would have been hard to achieve otherwise.