From the 1970s, Shannons had catered for Australia's motoring enthusiasts. From vintage classics to contemporary sports cars, Shannons understand the passion, the pride and the sheer emotional attachment their customers have to their cars.
Most of the firm's advertising was placed in the traditional motoring environments, sponsoring Top Gear, V8 Supercars and F1. But to its core audience the brand was not just a motoring sponsor, but an enabler that supported more than 800 grassroots motoring events every year.
But the long term future of the brand was in danger. It's consumer base was getting older and younger drivers were not being recruited into the brand. With an objective of delivering 10% sales growth (plus capturing a database of 5,000 potential customers) Shannon could no longer rely solely on the niche sector in which it had been so successful. A broader and younger group audience was required - one that was interested in motoring to a certain point, but not consciously passionate.
Research showed that this broader group only thought the stereotypical Shannons customer was an older man with an E type Jaguar. This younger group had seen Shannons as one of many motorsport sponsors. Consequently, Shannons decided to emulate its success in grassroots racing but on a much larger scale.
The Bathurst 1000 is known to Australian fans and broadcasters as "The Great Race" and is widely regarded as the pinnacle of Australian motorsport. The 2011 telecast reached 6.4 million people (the most for any motorsport) and 80% of the Shannons target audience claim to watch it every year. But, in order to connect with its new audience, Shannons needed to become the lead story of Bathurst 2011; not just another sponsor.
Instead of just sponsoring a branded race car or team, Shannons decided o create the next V8 superstar. The result was an entertainment platform for motor racing centred around a 10-part TV series where viewers could witness the global search to find the next young driver to join the elite of Australian Motorsport and race at The Bathurst 1000.
As motorsport is a highly regulated and controlled sport, and because the winning prize was so high profile, the public attention and scrutiny of this project was considerable. Shannon partnered with one of the biggest race teams in the country. Cameras entered the inner sanctum of a V8 super car race team for a full season and allowed fans to follow the drama and excitement as twelve male and female contestants competed for a place in the Shannons Racing team.
Shannons Supercar Showdown was broadcast on Australia's largest network and became the basis for the Shannons integrated marketing platform which included digital, content, social media, crm, celebrity ambassadorship and event marketing. The Shannons Racing team appeared at Bathurst 2011 complete with fully branded cars, pits, track signage and crew - a new team with a new superstar who everyone had watched grow, week by week, from a young cart driver to a genuine contender.
The winner (Cameron Waters) celebrated his 17th birthday just before Bathurst and was the youngest ever debut driver at Bathurst 1000. Despite not even having a road licence, his lap times were competitive with the best drivers and Bathurst crowds swamped the Shannons Racing team race pit for posters, merchandise and autographs.
Cameron and Shannons Racing became the lead media story over the Bathurst week; media coverage across national TV, newspapers, radio and online news portals (as well as specialist motoring press) totalled $2.3m in earned media for Shannons.
One YouTube clip featuring Cameron spinning attracted an impressive 356,000 Australian views in two days. Channel Seven doubled their commitment - repeating each episode and providing strong editorial coverage throughout the official Bathurst telecast.
34,309 potential customer contacts were added to the database, against a target of 5,000, (26,624 were new to Shannons).
Shannons business was up 15% year to date (Feb 2012).