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LIQUI MOLY Enters Formula 1

The German oil and additive specialist is investing millions in the racing series in order to boost its sales.

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A strong trio (from left): Peter Baumann, LIQUI MOLY marketing director; Ernst Prost, CEO; and Günter Hiermaier, sales director and second CEO.

LIQUI MOLY has opens the 2019 financial year with the announcement that it is going into Formula 1. The company will be advertising on the race track at 11 races – as one of just a few select brands.

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“We hope that out of the more than 1 billion viewers who follow this spectacle on television all over the world every year, it may occur to some of them to take a closer look at LIQUI MOLY and purchase our products,” said CEO Ernst Prost.

LIQUI MOLY will be showcased on a large scale for the first time at the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 31. “Formula 1 and LIQUI MOLY are a great match – after all, both stand for absolute top-class performance,” Prost added.

After the Bahrain Grand Prix, the LIQUI MOLY logo will be on display at half of the remaining races. The campaign will cost the company several millions.

“If you want to reach that many people all over the world, you can’t be a penny pincher: you have to think globally and make huge investments,” said Prost. Formula 1 is not new to the lubricant brand. LIQUI MOLY was involved with Team Jordan in the 2000s.

“The aim of advertising in Formula 1 is to raise our brand profile. Oils and additives do their job invisibly, hidden in the depths of the engine. They’re not products that drivers see and get thrilled about on a day-to-day basis. This is why brand visibility is all the more important for LIQUI MOLY. Top-class quality alone is not much help if nobody knows about the benefits,” said Prost.

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In addition to Formula 1, LIQUI MOLY’s international activities include the motorcycle world championship MotoGP and the touring car championship TCR. In addition, the company has a whole range of involvements at the national, regional and even local level.

“We go out to where the customers are and where they live – and that’s in their home country,” said Günter Hiermaier, sales director and second CEO of LIQUI MOLY.

But LIQUI MOLY doesn’t limit its activities to motor racing. The blue, red and white logo has been in view this winter at the world handball championships, which broke all records, at the ice hockey world championships, at the Four Hills Tournament, at the world ski championships and with the Chicago Bulls in the NBA.

“This taps into new target groups and customers for us, as well as bridging over the winter break in motor racing. Three factors are always crucial: the number of spectators on site, the media presence and the potential for creating positive associations with our own brand image,” noted Marketing Director Peter Baumann.

“Formula 1, MotoGP, world handball championships, ice hockey world championships – the potential in all of those is simply enormous,” said Prost. “It just shows the level we’re now operating at. You can hardly get any better than this. As a sponsor, we only purchase excellent sports events with outstanding TV coverage – mainly events with an international and indeed global impact.”

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In addition to its sponsorship, LIQUI MOLY also stimulates business by means of classic advertising. In autumn 2018 the company kicked off its first worldwide digital campaign, which generated 1.6 billion contacts. “We’re sensing that the pressure to advertise has increased in recent years,” Prost said. “We have to promote ourselves even more to even get noticed – which means investing more money on raising our brand profile.”

The company plans to significantly invest in another print advertising campaign shortly, due to get underway in Germany and Austria.

LIQUI MOLY set a new sales record in 2018 once again but success is a question of perspective, too, says Prost. Two percent sales growth is not that much of an achievement for a company that is so used to performing well. This is why Ernst Prost says he is now going on the offensive: “We’re really going to make splash in 2019. Part of this will be our appearance in Formula 1.”

After achieving sales of EUR 545 million (around $618 million US) last year, the target for this year is at least EUR 600 million ($680 million US) – in other words an increase of at least 10 percent. In its domestic market of Germany, LIQUI MOLY now has such a strong position that further growth is difficult to achieve, the company noted. This is why it is setting its sights on worldwide exports.

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Here LIQUI MOLY is increasingly deploying a new sales strategy. Traditionally the company has sold its products through independent importers in most countries. In Italy and France, the company will now be taking care of its own sales. “Not every importer has the resources required to develop sales the way we would like to,” said Prost. “Our potential is on a totally different scale when it comes to growing – not just in small steps but in huge jumps.” This does of course mean initially spending money on staff and advertising. “But these investments pay off in the long run – both Italy and France hold enormous potential for us,” he added.

Success is to be based on three pillars this year, according to Prost, “Excellent product quality, world-class sales power and a drastic raising of our brand profile.”

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