Red Bull’s rebranding of their junior team to ‘Visa Cash App RB’ continues to perplex the world of motorsport with Jenson Button asking “what?” when told the full name.
After months of speculation with fashion brands Adidas and Hugo Boss mentioned in the media as potential new title sponsors for Red Bull’s junior team, it was instead ‘Visa Cash App RB’ that was confirmed earlier this week.
The new name for the team, previously known as Scuderia Toro Rosso and then AlphaTauri, did not go down well with F1 fans and F1 personalities.
What’s in a name? That which we call an F1 team…
While former F1 driver Giedo van der Garde rued it “isn’t an appropriate name for a Formula One team”, F1 presenter Jennie Gow felt it “doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue”.
Fans weren’t quite as kind in their assessment as they dubbed it one of the “top 10 worst F1 team names in history” while others joked about the contactless jokes that would do the rounds when either Daniel Ricciardo or Yuki Tsunoda crashed.
2009 F1 World Champion Button is the latest to weigh in on the new name.
Speaking to The Associated Press ahead of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, he tried to get it right when told about the new name.
“Visa Cash App… what comes after that? So it is Visa. Cash App. RB. What?” he said.
But, as he added, “People are talking about it, right? So that’s good. It’s obviously worked in getting people to talk about it.”
A marketing masterclass for VCARB?
The name may not be a winner for fans but Clay Hershaw, an associate professor of Motorsports Management at Winston-Salem State University, says it will be one for the F1 team.
“It is working if we are talking about it. I think the ridicule is like being parodied on ‘Saturday Night Live,’” he said. “If you or your business is being parodied on ‘SNL,’ you are doing something worth talking about.”
And it’s something Formula 1 fans should expect more of the future.
“I believe you will see more of these sponsorship entitlements coming into existence in the future,” said Tom Legeman, a professor of Motorsports Marketing and Management at the University of Northwestern Ohio.
“Look at stadium entitlements. They were unheard of 25 years ago, but now they are commonplace across multiple sports, and the dollar figures for these entitlements continue to rise.
“For the purist, they are going to hate the change. None of the older F1 fans wants Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren, Williams, and other icon F1 brands co-branded with a consumer product or service.”