Allianz AG announced Friday that it would sponsor the Williams/BMW Formula One racing team, in line with its plan, announced last year, to increase its worldwide brand awareness. The partnership with Bavarian neighbor BMW and England’s Frank Williams promises to do exactly that.
Formula One is probably, after soccer football, the most internationally watched sport, with an average 300 million viewers worldwide for each race. This will “increase the brand awareness of the Allianz Group with great and sustained efficiency, especially in our key future markets Asia/Pacific and Latin America,” said board member Michael Diekmann.
Allianz lost no time in implementing the agreement. The two Williams/BMW cars, piloted by Germany’s Ralf Schumacher and England’s Jenson Button, prominently displayed the Allianz Logo on both sides of the rear chassis at the European Grand Prix held Sunday at Germany’s Nurburgring.
Although Ralf’s older brother, two time world champion Michael Schumacher, won the race in his Ferrari, the Williams/BMW team have been highly competitive, and both Ralf and Button, at 20 the youngest driver ever to compete in Formula One, seemed destined for future victories.
Allianz has also made a cooperation agreement with the Federation International d’Automobile (FIA), the sport’s governing body. FIA President Max Mosely took the unprecedented step of attending the conference announcing the partnership, and stressed the desire of the FIA to increase road safety throughout the world.
Although it’s a bit hard to see what driving a race car at speeds that often exceed 200 mph, has to do with road safety, Mosely seemed assured that the insurance and risk management expertise, which Allianz has agreed to provide, would do so. “For the first time the FIA will work with a Formula One team and their sponsor to transfer Formula One expertise and experience for the benefit of the motoring public,” the announcement quoted Mosely.
Allianz, which had earlier revealed plans to team up with leading Internet provider Cisco Systems, and according to CEO Henning Schulte-Noelle “planned to invest triple digit millions of euros in technology platforms, applications development and product service innovations,” seems well along in its goal of increasing brand awareness.
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