Is Social Media Speedier than Lewis Hamilton?

It seems that speed is a pertinent issue in the world of the web at the moment, Google made a major announcement last Wednesday, revealing its new 'instant search', and now it seems that The McLaren Mercedes Formula One team, no strangers to breakneck speeds themselves, want to get in on the action to.

McLaren and its sponsorship partners Vodafone, are launching a social media campaign on Facebook whereby users can play a part in a very unique race. Instead of going wheel-to-wheel with his Grand Prix weekend rivals like Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber, Hamilton will be up against your Facebook profile picture!


The race has been set up by Vodafone who have implemented a new, faster mobile network in The Netherlands. So confident are they of its speed that they plan to beat Hamilton by (hopefully) demonstrating that their network can download 28,800 Facebook profile pictures, totaling 288 Megabytes, before Hamilton can complete 2.7km of a secret racetrack, rumoured to be in Schipol, just south of Amsterdam.


How exactly will this work?! I hear you cry, well, the youngest ever Formula One world champion, whose Italian Grand Prix ended prematurely on Sunday, will race against a ‘virtual car’ made up of the 28,800 profile pictures. This means that by joining the campaign, you can be a part of the race by having your mug make up a small part of the Facebook F1 car!

This campaign is a big draw for race fans who will be enticed by the prospect of taking on one of their idols, and an inspired piece of on and offline PR for Vodafone. This stunt, designed to demonstrate the speed of Vodafone’s network, is reminiscent of the Google Chrome viral advertising campaign in which the page load speeds were compared to sound waves, lightning and a potato cannon!

What do you think Vodafone’s speedy new social media advertising vehicle? (if you’ll excuse the pun!). Is it something you would get involved in? How does it compare to other memorable campaigns?