Week 93 (11 – 17 July 2015)
Sometimes you don’t need to say anything at all. Bernie Ecclestone, the media-styled “supremo” of Formula One, is a master of communicating and knows how to earn the column inches he wants when he wants; and equally, how to ration and control his exposure as required.
This week, the Suffolk-born 84-year-old opted for control as he lent his immense media profile to a family friend competing for charity in the Mongol Rally, a 10,000-mile journey from England to Mongolia, under the team name of the Lost Yeti Hunters.
For the cause – which is supporting three charities: Cool Earth, Rett Syndrome Foundation UK and SOS Children – Ecclestone hosted the car’s launch at his company’s Knightsbridge headquarters and gathered the media for a photo call, as well as posing for photos with the team and the car – and even taking a selfie with a giant yeti.
Whilst he chose not to offer the journalists at the launch all that much in the way of media soundbites, his presence and willingness to play up to the cameras garnered more high-profile media traction for the Lost Yeti Hunters than the Mongol Rally itself will likely generate in a year.
James Allen @Jamesallenonf1 (BBC)
It's here! The long awaited photo of #Bernie with a yeti. Raising money for kids charities #MongolRally Captions?
Rob Harris @RobHarris (Associated Press)
A yeti takes a selfie with Bernie Ecclestone
Part of Ecclestone’s control of the media situation meant he turned down the chance to publically outline his involvement in the day and refused to answer questions about his future in Formula One. He wasn’t being rude, he was just being Bernie. And his tight-lipped responses led to SNTV creatively running the headline: “Ecclestone quitting F1? Not yeti!”
Had he commented at greater length, the majority of stories from the event would likely have carried a strong Formula One angle, eclipsing the launch of the car. However, Ecclestone’s behaviour – which included coming up with the idea to take off the handbrake to allow the car to be pushed along by himself, the yeti and the Lost Yeti Hunters – meant the focus was firmly on the event rather than on him.