Trackside to airside at Changi

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

What better way to wind down from the stresses – and they are considerable – of organising and moderating The Trinity Forum than a weekend of Formula 1 racing?

The Moodie Report, along with half the Asia Pacific travel retail industry it seemed, headed for Singapore over the weekend to watch the Singapore Grand Prix.

Martin and Phil Humphreys

[Martin Moodie and Fred Kiang of Sunrise Duty Free]

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[Left to right: Phil Humphreys, Diageo GTME; Gary Chau, Tasa Meng; Jay Woo, Diageo GTME; Fred Kiang, Sunrise Duty Free]

What an event – and what a thrilling transformation of an inner city.

Singapore is a ‘street circuit’, the race taking place on roads and around locations very familiar to regular visitors to the TFWA Asia Pacific exhibition and conference every year.

From my 28th floor bedroom at the Conrad International hotel, for example, I enjoyed a terrific panorama over the city and much of the track. Guests at the Marina Mandarin (pictured), too, gained a superb perspective of the race.

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But I got even closer to the action on the day of the big race when I joined Diageo Travel Retail & Middle East (GTME) and a number of the region’s leading travel retailers in the Vodafone Mercedes McLaren corporate box.

What a fantastic occasion – and how brilliantly Diageo, through Johnnie Walker Black Label, has taken advantage of it. As millions of television viewers watched the race, enthralled both by the racing and the spectacular views of Singapore, huge advertising hoardings of Johnnie Walker Black Label, placed strategically all around the course, kept flashing into view.

Johnnie Walker is, of course, one of the sponsors of the Vodafone Mercedes McLaren team. And the brand landed the perfect result with British ace Lewis Hamilton leading from start to finish for a comfortable victory.

It was interesting to see how well Johnnie Walker marketed the occasion. In the bars and restaurants around the inner city the brand was everywhere, its trademark striking black imagery resonating brilliantly into the night.

Commendably too, its anti drink-driving campaign ‘Join the Pact’ played a key part in the celebrations.

But The Moodie Report’s real interest lay in a related event several miles away – at Singapore Changi Airport.

There the Diageo GTME team, in close – and crucial – partnership with DFS and Changi Airport Group has brought the thrill of trackside to airside with a simply stunning promotion at Terminal 3.

Out in the centre of the departures concourse, the company has positioned a full-size F1 racing car. Adjacent, travellers have the chance to have their photos taken in front of the car and their faces transplanted onto the body of an F1 driver, thanks to neat digital technology.

Johnnie Walker promotion

But first they must sign the ‘Join the Pact’ pledge, declaring that they will never drink and drive.

As they exit the stage to receive their instantly produced digital photographs, passengers are invited to try a Johnnie Walker Black cocktail (mixed with lemonade and mint – delicious, I can report, having sampled it in the interests of getting the full story) and of course buy some product.

I tried both the cocktail and the photo opportunity (below) – Lewis Hamilton has little to worry about. But it was great fun.

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We’ll bring you some sales results as soon as we can but it’s already apparent from talking to the Diageo team that the campaign is delivering impressive benefits.

It represents a triumphant expression of the Trinity at work – airport, retailer and brand company co-operating to drive footfall, penetration, spend, and consumer engagement. It’s a truly winning formula.

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