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Santander - Countdown to Zero

Santander, together with F1, challenged start-ups and scaleups from all over the world to find real and sustainable solutions for the automotive industry by launching the "Santander Global Challenge", a global challenge to find the next generation of sustainable solutions.

The Challenge

For Santander, their sponsorship assets are a powerful tool to increase emotional bonding with all their audiences and communicate their mission to help people and businesses to progress.

With the aim of delivering global brand awareness, Santander started in 2007 by sponsoring of the McLaren F1 team. In 2010 they became sponsor of Ferrari until 2017. At the same time, Santander signed an agreement with F1 to sponsor five F1 Grand Prix.

For years, the sponsorship of F1 placed Santander as a world brand; increasing brand recognition worldwide and reinforcing their position as a leading global bank.

In 2022, Santander once again sponsors Ferrari and F1. Versus any brand impact achieved, we know that Ferrari and F1 belong to an area considered polluting and unsustainable. For this reason, as a responsible international bank and brand, Santander goes further by signing a partnership model anchored in a superior benefit, sustainability. A goal directly linked to the bank's commitment of fighting against climate change.

Insight and Strategy

Santander looked to establish their commitment to climate change through Formula 1. To meet such a crucial goal, Santander launched an ambitious initiative, 'Santander X Global Challenge', a global challenge to find innovative and sustainable solutions for the automotive industry in different areas: mobility, logistics and transport, and carbon offset alternatives.

We identified three specific strategic goals for our activation campaign:

1. Attract entrepreneurs to participate in the development of sustainable solutions for the automotive industry.

2. Landing Santander's commitment to leave a positive impact on F1.

3. Remove the perception of incompatibility between F1 and sustainability.

To achieve the strategic objectives, two targets were identified and defined through our propietary global tool (CCS):

a. Our primary target: Transformative, imaginative, international Startups and Scaleups with the ambition to solve 'impossible' challenges in the automotive industry.

b. A broad target for engagement: Eco-conscious people interested in innovation and sustainability, including fans of the motor world and part of culturally diverse markets such as Brazil, Spain, Mexico, UK and USA.

Execution, Solution and Innovation

Analyzing successful communication models in the 'force for good' territory, as well as recent theories in the field of 'behavioral economics', we understood that activating participation and changing established prejudices in F1 required a different solution. Thus, we built a 'win-win' model capable of mobilizing start-ups, scale-ups and eco-conscious worldwide through three communication pillars:

1. We amplified the social conversation.

We orchestrated 11 social platforms, delivering 'live' experiences on YouTube and Twitch, in collaboration with 'relevo' (an online sports content partner). We generated a great impact with special formats such as 'spark ads' on TikTok.

2. We worked with global messengers to spread our message worldwide.

8 influencers and motor personalities, streaming live and through their own social networks.

3. Do to then say, with content.

We made the the challenge even bigger by producing a documentary 'Countdown to Zero' with the participants as stars of the 'storytelling'. We broadened the experience through events at the F1 Mexico Grand Prix, forums and round tables. We distributed the experiences through partnerships with regional TV (Disney+ / ESPN) and press editorial groups that maximized visibility and reach.

Result and Business Effect

Our people-focused strategy and an innovative use of media led us to successful participation while allowing us to penetrate the culture of sustainability.

600 start-ups and scaleups joined in the challenge. 53M people in 5 countries understood Banco Santander's commitment, reaching 130M views and 5M interactions.

Most importantly, 'Santander X Global Challenge' transforms with real solutions.
6 winning projects have had an impact on mobility, logistics, transport and alternatives to offset carbon emissions and were presented for development to executives from F1, Ferrari and the EIT InnoEnergy (European accelerator for energy sustainability projects).