I noticed today Forbes has picked up on a Reddit AMA by F1’s Director of Market Research, Matt Roberts. During the AMA, Roberts revealed that over two-thirds of fans were indifferent about the new logo (first launched at the back-end of 2017).
Well. I am SHOCKED.
No wait. I’m not shocked at all. This is absolutely to be expected, and in some ways, a bit of a result. Let’s look at some of the reasons why. First of all, any brand that goes through such a huge change to their visual identity will do so in the full knowledge that not everyone’s going to like it. It’s impossible to please all of the people, all of the time.
More importantly, we need to understand the reasons for the rebrand, before understanding how its success is to be judged. F1 grew massively in the 70s and 80s under the ‘guidance’ (most would say force) of Bernie Ecclestone. A man known for his deal-making abilities, but not necessarily his ‘progressive’ attitude towards any communication technology more advanced than a mobile phone. When Liberty took over F1, there were very clear requirements to sort out F1’s appalling internet and social media presence.
F1’s marketing until that point had relied very much on the individual venues, teams, and media outlets to promote the sport. But there were some bizarre limitations in place. You couldn’t, for example, shoot video at a race and distribute it. I mean you could, but by doing so you’d be subject to a copyright claim by F1 and the lawyers would absolutely come at you. Imagine that in the era of Instagram Stories and Facebook Live. Well, it was happening.