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Journalists drive race car on brain power

Journalists drive race car on brain power



Operating machines with brain waves used to be limited to the realm of sci-fi. Vodafone decided to take their own payoff ‘The future is exciting. Ready?’ very literally and made sci-fi a reality. Their ‘Formula Brain’ campaign gave consumers and media alike a chance to convert their brain activity into data that could operate an actual race car through the 4G network. Glasnost was tasked with forging a successful PR track to reach a wide audience and position the brand as the partner for consumers to discover new technologies.


  • Reach a large part of the wide ‘Dutch family’ target group
  • Prove to journalists and influencers that Vodafone is at the forefront of new technologies


The PR strategy was based on providing the media with the opportunity to write their own stories about Formula Brain. Instead of simply supplying the message, we offered meaningful context by inviting this group to experience the activation personally. To properly serve the different moments of the activation build-up, a layered strategy was necessary. We therefore involved consumers, journalists and influencers; selected three moments to centre the story around and positioned the message in both regional and national media.

The phased approach is the benchmark of our 3M-method. The M for Moments usually means there is only one opportunity to get the story out to the media. The solution to this PR challenge was to adjust both the Message and the Means (the target group) to the selected Moment.


The first campaign moment was the activation announcement. As something so sci-fi should really be demonstrated, we supplied a select group of news and lifestyle media partners with in-depth information in the form of a press release as well as a ‘racing with your brain’ video teaser. Other relevant media were supplied with the press release shortly after. The press release contained phase 1 of the M for Message: Vodafone gives consumers the chance to drive a race car with their brain! But first: regional qualification races.

Phase 2 lasted four weeks and saw the regional announcement of the qualification races. Local news media were made aware of the event and invited to witness the in-store qualification race and hear the Message from a Vodafone spokesperson. Meaningful stories were created by connecting local journalists with participants from their region.

The Message came to life in the racing finale where a real-life race car was driven with brain power. The morning session offered three journalists and influencers the opportunity to literally think their way around the race track. Louise Meijer, Director Brand & Communications at VodafoneZiggo, painted them a picture of the campaign vision. Journalists from the national daily Algemeen Dagblad and TV news programme EditieNL, as well as influencer Jayjay Boske were the lucky three to brain-operate the race car.

The consumer battle for the Formula Brain Champion title took place in the afternoon and was closely watched by several regional media and lifestyle journalists from titles such as Manify and MAN MAN. Directly following the event, the winner was publicly announced through a press release and a video that was shot that day. At the same time, EditieNL aired its piece from that morning.


  • Announcement – Cumulative reach exceeding 13 million impressions
  • Regional – Cumulative reach of 8 million impressions
  • Event – Cumulative reach exceeding 42 million impressions


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