On his racing background and how he started JMI:I raced from 1991 to 2000 and I raced in Europe from 1991 to 1994. How the company got started was that when I was racing from '91 to '94 in Europe I was sponsored by TWA Airlines, and then I got a deal to race with Porsche in the States. TWA said: ''We love the sponsorship that you have done, sorry you are going back to America, can you place the sponsorship with one of your friends in the sport? You must know how the sport works.'' And I said, ''Yes, I can do that.'' And that is how the business got started. It was really a request by my personal sponsor to keep the sponsorship going.
I then recognized that no one in the sport was consulting the sponsors, everyone kind of works for a team, so I thought, ''What if I go out to more companies and I find out what they want out of life, and then I go around and talk to various teams and identify the best opportunities?'' And that is how the business got started. We were incorporated in February 1995 in downtown Indianapolis for 25 bucks. I still remember my employee identification number for some reason.
On the climate like for sponsorship in Formula 1 during difficult economic times:A couple of observations: On a positive note, people aren't leaving Formula 1. There have been some, but if you look down the grid there has not been anyone substantial who has left. I think that what that says is that in a time of cutting back, they are keeping the ''must haves'' and they are getting rid of the ''nice to haves,'' and Formula One appears to be a ''must have'' for many corporations. I think that says a lot for the success of the sport. And we have brought in in the last two years GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) with its Lucozade, Unilever and UBS. So we have brought in three Fortune 500 companies in a vary substantial way. So there is more money going into the sport than going out. For the few that have left, more have come in and in a substantial way. It is definitely not easy. But I think compared to a lot of industries, it's punching above its weight and doing better versus other sports that have maybe taken a bigger beating.
On what is his Formula 1 sales pitch:It is global, it is massive, it is exciting, it is innovative, it is Fortune 500. Short of the Olympics and the World Cup, which don't have the same frequency, there is nothing bigger - certainly nothing bigger that has the level of frequency that Formula 1 has. It also has a much more significant sponsor brand recall than those other two because of the frequency. Meaning, you will be able to mention the Olympics sponsors for the two weeks up to it and the two weeks after - but tell me in a year's time who sponsored the London Olympics. And a lot of that just has to do with frequency. It is not necessarily to say that the Olympics isn't good or the World Cup isn't good. The consumer needs a certain amount of repetition to remember things.
On what is the next trend in Formula 1 sponsorship:Consumer products. I think Unilever coming in with its Rexona and Clear brands will start the trend because they are the industry leader, and a lot of advertising is ''follow the leader.'' So I think Unilever is going to open the door for other consumer product companies. It is now rumored Coca-Cola is looking at the sport. So I think that is going to be the next wave of products. It's going to be the daily consumption of what the fans in the grandstands use, whether that is deodorant, shampoo, soft drinks.
And it has to be international, which does present a challenge because a lot of consumer products are different brands in different regions. So what you will see with Rexona is that it is different brands in different countries and you will see some different branding at times, whether it is activation or on the car, for that specific market.