As the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed fast approaches, I'm reminded of my involvement in one of the very early festivals via one of the original sponsors, Lufthansa Cargo. It was a fantastic time in my career and 23 years ago, it served as my introduction to the world of logistics and freight.
Back then the Festival was very different in terms of its size and what was on offer, yet it was still incredibly exciting to attend. Working 'behind the scenes' as part of the Lufthansa Cargo team made it all the more special.
Lufthansa Cargo was entrusted to fly in the rare and highly-valuable classic and vintage cars taking part in this unique event. After the first year of sponsorship, they wanted to make more of their involvement to connect with new audiences and highlight their specialist cargo services.
At the time, I was working with automotive PR specialist agency, Gordon Bruce Associates, and was the lucky Account Manager chosen to work on the account, thanks to my work in sponsorship optimisation within the world of Formula One and Rallying.
I have always been able to look at things in a slightly different (some say quirky) way and so could spot the potential of this sponsorship. I was given privileged access to some of the wealthiest car collectors in the world. Such was their passion for their collections they were happy to talk with me at length about their rare and wonderful vehicles.
Once I had chosen what I felt were the most coverage-worthy I started to sell in the stories and photo opportunities to the likes of The Sunday Times and Telegraph. The behind the scenes storytelling and understanding of just what it takes to get a one-off priceless car to the Festival resonated with the journalists and so I achieved a full page in the former and half page in the latter. Result!
Lufthansa Cargo was extremely happy with the campaign and so the project turned into what became a six year relationship.
One particular year really sticks in my memory. Lufthansa Cargo flew a classic Junkers aircraft over for the event and I was able to invite journalists to take a flight over the site throughout the event. It was an amazing experience! I remember joining Andrew English and his son on one such flight; it was slightly nerve-wracking as it was a small, aging plane, but an experience I will always treasure. This strange and wonderful world of PR has given me so many amazing (and sometimes weird) experiences over the years.
However, my pièce de résistance was when I discovered an extremely rare Ferrari was being flown over from Japan for the Festival. Such was its value, it was given an entire cargo plane to itself. The owner was flying over with his prized possession in the belly of the cargo plane. I approached a journalist from Classic Car Magazine with the offer of travelling with the car and its owner for a once in a lifetime opportunity to get close to both.
Now I'm not talking first class luxury here for this long flight – it was all a bit rough and ready, as all the care and attention was being lavished on the car, not the people. He went for it and the resulting four pages of coverage (and front cover) was fabulous – I still have that copy of Classic Car Magazine in my portfolio. The images and storytelling are sublime. #Proud
The Goodwood Festival of Speed and Lufthansa Cargo hold a special place in my heart as both represented a really exciting and dynamic phase in my career. The marketing team, headed up by Cathy Cullen, at Lufthansa Cargo, were fantastic to work with.
So it was Lufthansa Cargo and Goodwood Festival of Speed that ignited by rather inexplicable passion for all things logistics and freight! We are now working with EFM Logistics, which are leaders in specialised logistics and freight forwarding, so I remain happily involved in this world of getting x from A to B.
Here's to another fabulous Goodwood Festival of Speed – good luck in the inclement weather in the carpark. I have spent many a long hour trying to get out of the bog and wheel spinning to no avail. It's a long time since I've been to the event – note to self – get a ticket for next year!