The Coca-Cola Co. this year has broken new ground around burn energy drink’s sponsorship of the Lotus Formula One Team.

The beverage giant, which announced a multiyear partnership with the team in late 2012, is activating the tie with burn Yard Live, a series of events that feature electronic music, action sports demos, street art installations, appearances by Formula One drivers and other activities courtesy of burn-sponsored talent.  

The Coca-Cola Co. has hosted burn Yard Live events at the Spanish Grand Prix and Hungarian Grand Prix and will host the final event of the year at the Brazilian Grand Prix in late November.

IEG SR spoke with Prinz Mathew Pinakatt, The Coca-Cola Co.’s global director, alliances & ventures, Formula 1, NBA, global customer integration, about the thinking behind burn Yard, how the activation platform supports the company’s content marketing strategy, and other topics.

Below are edited excerpts from the conversation.   

The thinking behind burn Yard Live
Burn Yard represents what the burn brand stands for. We want to be the catalyst for creativity by bringing together sport, music and other disciplines to create something new and inspiring.

We want to magnify the relationships burn has developed in electronic music, street art and action sports by taking those communities into the world of Formula One and provide them with a bigger stage.

At the same time, we want to infuse the Formula One community with youth culture. The average age of Formula One fans is people in their late thirties. We want to recruit the next generation of fans by bringing the burn ethos into the world of Formula One.

We view our partnership with Formula One as a platform for our existing partners to portray what they are great at, and in return help Formula One become more relevant and magnetic to a younger audience.

On using burn Yard to create content
We document the sports and entertainment collisions through webisodes and other platforms.

For example, Avicii—one of the world’s biggest DJs and a major talent in the burn universe—created a song called Speed that was inspired by his visit to the Lotus F1 Team factory in Enstone, England.

We premiered the track at burn Yard Live in Bucharest. Ten minutes after Avicii left the stage we made the track available on Youtube, Amazon, iTunes and Spotify.

An interesting element from a content point of view is that we have ownership of the track. We recoup some of the investment we have made in burn Yard through revenues we generate from the song. 

On using burn Yard to support The Coca-Cola’s Content 2020 marketing strategy
From a content point of view burn is a pioneer in the area of content communication. We don’t do any TV ads or above-the-line communication. We believe in engaging with key communities through influence marketing and, most importantly, credible, branded entertainment and content stories.

We apply the Content 2020 strategy to any marketing program, including sponsorship. The idea behind Content 2020 is creating stories and experiences that are so great and magnetic that consumers are willing to pay for it.

The question is, do we want consumers to pay for it? We could sell tickets to burn Yard events, but we decided not to. We have superstar DJs, a Hollywood A-list, Formula One drivers and experiences that consumers would be willing to pay for.

On extending the content strategy to the NBA
Do we plan on leveraging the content strategy with the NBA? Yes.

The NBA is attractive in many markets—particularly China and the United States—and we want to leverage our relationship with the league and LeBron James. LeBron is an absolute superstar and a genuinely nice person.

We want to give people the opportunity to know him better by documenting his life and share things people want to know courtesy of the Sprite brand. That is something that would elevate the brand and take our partnership to the next level.

We don’t have final plans, but my ambition—as well as my counterparts who manage the partnership in the U.S.—is to apply Content 2020 to the NBA.