BUSINESS

Full Tilt/Virgin partnership like a dog humping your leg

TAGs: Full Tilt, monte carlo, Red Bull, virgin racing

I am sitting here in my room in Monte Carlo, listening to the roar of the F1 cars outside my window. Today is the day they do their trial runs to see what order they start the race tomorrow.

I have been a fan of Virgin for years. I learnt a lot about branding by tracking Richard Brandson’s career over the years. I also have a lot of respect for what Full Tilt have done. I don’t find them particularly friendly though, as I have tried to help them in the past and pretty much got blown off — an odd reaction to me given that I was actually trying to help them get FullTilt.com — but to each their own. However, the new Full Tilt/Virgin Racing partnership feels sort of like what a dog must feel when its humping your leg — feels good for a while, but no happy ending.

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I am currently at the Monte Carlo Grand Prix as a guest of Red Bull (Twitter), which allows me full access to the Red Bull hospitality suite plus a pit pass. Red Bull invited me here because they want to work with BodogBrand.com. Bodog is a lifestyle, Red Bull is a lifestyle. The two brands go together like an internet stalker and a bullet in the head. During my pit tour it was explained to me that there’s a pecking order, starting with the lowest status teams on one end and increasingly higher status teams as you proceed down the row. The Virgin/Full Tilt team occupied the first spot (meaning they are lowest on the F1 totem pole). Further along we find team Toro Rosso (Red Bull in Spanish). This is the feeder team for Red Bull Racing (meaning Red Bull’s starter team is higher up in status than the Virgin/Full Tilt team). The real Red Bull team was in the second last position (reflecting their status as one of the top two teams).

CalRedBullCarAdditionally, the Red Bull hospitality suite is without question the biggest lifestyle statement of the Monte Carlo Grand Prix. I did not even see a Full Tilt or Virgin hospitality suite. I can tell you that F1 racing is not something you can do half heartedly but that’s how both Full Tilt and Virgin seem to be approaching this. Apparently, they both feel like they’re getting their dicks rubbed by having a car in the race, but there will definitely be no happy endings for them on this day.

On a related (no happy ending) note here in Monte Carlo — a company that I had never even heard of (Betclic.com) has banners all over on the track here. I asked who they were and one of my contacts here in Monaco says that they are a French online gaming company. BetClic is a horrible name. To start with, it’s not really a keyword. It’s like naming a beer “PourDrink”. Worse, bet means nothing in French, yet clic is the French spelling of click, making the domain neither easy to understand nor to remember. Maybe they are sheltered enough in France that all this does not matter. However, I don’t see this company having any more chance of becoming a global brand than does Bwin (which reminds me of B-list), but if these companies execute well, they can both still get a smile on their face from that rubbing feeling at least.

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