As I noted in my last post, because sponsorship is so much more visible than all other media, it is highly vulnerable to attack. Scottish politicians are having a field day tying the tragic closing of the Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock with the brand’s sponsorship of Formula One’s McLaren Mercedes team. The logic: F1 has fueled Johnnie Walker’s growth globally, rendering its home market insignificant and enabling Diageo to close the plant—along with a Glasgow distillery.
On the one hand U.S. officials say sponsorship is a waste of money and should be off-limits to recipients of TARP funds, while across the pond officials are asserting that sponsorship is so successful brands can ignore current customers in local markets and instead focus entirely on new markets abroad.
"£15 million of sponsorship sees the Johnnie Walker brand go from its origins in Kilmarnock to be drunk around the world," said Kilmarnock MSP Willie Coffey. On the eve of the German Grand Prix, he urged motorsports fans to sign an online petition to save the Johnnie Walker plant. “This weekend as Johnnie Walker is advertised to the world, it's the turn of Formula One fans to show their support." more