McLaren and GSK mull marketing venture

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button: McLaren F1 drivers
Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button: McLaren F1 drivers

McLaren and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have today entered into a strategic partnership, which could lead to GSK household products, such as Lucozade, appearing on Lewis Hamilton's Formula 1 car.

The move marks the first time that McLaren has tied up with a pharmaceutical company and could have significant marketing implications.

Ron Dennis, executive chairman of McLaren,  said: "If and when a GSK brand appears on our Formula 1 cars, it will be only a part of what this strategic partnership is all about. Rather, this partnership is a broad cross-pollination of the DNA of our respective cultures.

As of yet, no details of a marketing tie-up between the two has been announced, but it is thought this is likely to change over the coming months.

One possibility is branding of GSK consumer products, such as Ribena and Lucozade appearing on McLaren Formula 1 cars.

McLaren and GSK today announced the first details of the partnership which will initially run until 2016.

Initially, it will be focused on GSK’s manufacturing, R&D, and consumer healthcare businesses, and specifically GSK's nutritionals unit, which markets brands like Lucozade and Panadol.

For example, based on McLaren's existing Formula 1 race-strategy centre, GSK Nutritional unit will set up a new Mission Control centre in London.

It is hoped that the facility will help drive faster-decision marking in areas such as inventory management and pricing.

The two companies will also share resources and research.

Andrew Witty, chief executive of GSK, said: "The partnership is another example of GSK looking outside its sector for inspiration and fresh perspectives on how we can achieve our strategic goals in an ever more challenging and fast-changing business environment."

Mclaren's existing sponsors include Tag Heuer, Hilton and Boss.

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