Lewis Hamilton got in a bit of trouble just eight months ago for Snapchatting during the driver's press conference ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix. Today, Formula One and Snapchat announced a new partnership to produce and deliver content from races via the social media picture and video sharing platform. Of the newfound openness that Liberty Media has brought to Formula One, this is probably the biggest change to date. While there are much more pressing issues that Liberty needs to address in Formula One, this move signals a massive shift in policy and attitude for the sport.
Under the Ecclestone regime, Formula One was a gated community. Any and all pictures, video, and information released out to the world was carefully curated, filtered, and packaged. Everything that could be was monetized and carefully controlled. That business model was becoming less and less compatible with the fast-paced InstaSnapFaceTube social media world.
With Liberty Media's purchase of Formula One, those walls are starting to come down. Formula One's social media footprint expanded and this new deal with Snapchat is something that would have been unheard of last year. So why Snapchat? Isn't the app that the millennials use to send naked selfies that delete after a few seconds? Well, yes, and no.
When Snapchat first hit the scene, there were undoubtedly lots of naked selfies being sent over the app. But since, it has evolved into its own social media ecosystem that is not as self-contained as when it began. Even if you have never used Snapchat, you've likely encountered pictures and videos created in it, the most notable being the face swap filter that spread like wildfire across the internet not too long ago.
Millennials use Snapchat and Formula One wants to tap into that market. According to a press release from Formula One regarding the deal, through the Our Stories feature on Snapchat, a compilation of the race weekend will be created using pictures and videos created by both fan and Formula One. The goal is to include fans in the process and to keep them engaged throughout out the weekend at the race. Most importantly, Formula One wants to have fun with this.
While this is still a monetization of content, the type of content and how it's being created is a complete u-turn from the recent past. Eight months ago, Hamilton was called to the principal's office for using his phone at work. Now, that very type of thing could end up in the official Formula One Snapchat Our Stories: The British Grand Prix. Well, maybe not exactly what Hamilton Snapped, but something a little more fan-friendly.
Formula One will be creating it's first Our Stories via Snapchat this weekend at the British Grand Prix. It's going to be interesting to see how it goes. This is new territory for the racing series, but not for Snapchat. Hopefully, Snapchat will have a strong voice in what the final product looks like. Snapchat knows what works and what doesn't. The resulting Our Stories needs to be something unique and vastly different than what you get on the television broadcast or even Forumula One's existing (and fast growing) social media platforms.
It's time to bite the bullet and download Snapchat if you haven't already.