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Scandal will not damage F1 says sponsorship expert

NEWS STORY
15/04/2008

A leading expert on sports' sponsorship claims that the Max Mosley saga will have no serious impact on the Formula One brand.

Pippa Collett, who oversaw Shell's sponsorship of the Athens Olympics and its partnership with Ferrari in F1 before heading off to form her own company Sponsorship Consulting, says that the scandal is not necessarily a bad thing for the sport, despite the claims of several manufacturers, a number of motoring organisations and countless former F1 drivers.

"There is a well known phrase that all publicity is good publicity," she told CNN, "and the same holds true in this case.

"He (Mosley) wrote to the FIA and was very open and demonstrated a level of professionalism. You can't fault him for that," she continued. "I'm sure that they (the sponsors) will be reviewing their investment in the light of the alleged activity. The crunch will come at the June 3 meeting... they won't pull funding in the long term.

"I think it has the potential to be a nine-day wonder if the FIA deal with it efficiently in June," she added. "Then it can be written off as a learning experience."

However, Stephen Cheliotis, chief executive of the Centre for Brand Analysis and UK Superbrands and CoolBrands Councils' chairman, begs to differ, saying that he does not "believe for a minute that all publicity is good publicity".

"The question here is whether Mosley and the Formula One brand are intrinsically linked," he said, "Max Mosley isn't Formula One. What Max Mosley does as head of the FIA is totally, utterly different from the sport... the public can differentiate."

Cheliotis cited the example of Rebecca Loos, who claimed she had an affair with David Beckham, a story she sold to the News of the World in 2004.

"You're not going to stop supporting Manchester United and Real Madrid because of it," he said.

He added that though he could understand the furore in recent weeks, he still believes that there is "a little too much panic" going on, and that people will not stop buying BMW and Mercedes because of the saga.

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