Best practice from Threepipe. This won Best Digital Campaign at the PRCA Awards 2009.
Summer 2009 was the biggest summer of cricket ever hosted in England, headlined by the npower Ashes and the ICC World Twenty20.
The ECB (England & Wales Cricket Board) created ‘The Great Exhibition’, a campaign to capitalise on the excitement and interest generated by these high profile events, creating more cricket fans and building a positive legacy for the future of cricket.
Digital communication was a central part of the strategy of engaging with the public through all available media channels, bringing them closer to the game and to the England team.
The overall objectives for The Great Exhibition were:
- Increase the overall cricket fan base in the UK from 9.5m to 11m by August 2009
- Increase unique users of ecb.co.uk to 500,000 per month
- Add 80,000 new cricket fans to the ECB database for future Communication
Digital media channels were identified as crucial in connecting with potential cricket fans and all elements of the campaign were designed with that in mind. The strategy was to focus digital activity on TwelfthMan, the ECB’s England supporters club, using digital channels to connect with fans, drive awareness, engagement and visits to the TwelfthMan website.
An integrated campaign was developed, designed to reinforce the message that TwelfthMan helps fans to get closer to the England team and to communicate that fans could make a real difference to the England team through their support.
Content is king in the digital space and, while the ECB had access to some fantastic archive footage, player interviews and behind the scenes content, we also needed to create something that fans could be part of and engage with, reflecting the ethos of TwelfthMan.
We decided to create two pieces of fan-generated content throughout the summer, helping England fans to show their support:
1. Messages of Support invited England supporters to go online and express their support for the team, with the best messages being printed up and put on display in the England changing room before each Ashes test, meaning that fans could genuinely connect with and inspire the team.
2. The Fans’ Jerusalem challenged fans to upload footage of themselves singing England’s unofficial cricket anthem, with the best clips to be combined into a full version of the hymn and shown at each test ground, again allowing ordinary fans to inspire the players.
To help capture fan content, a specially created “TwelfthMan Van” set off on a tour, visiting 16 venues around the UK, inviting fans to record their clips and messages to camera.
To give the content genuine media value, some celebrity input was also needed, so throughout the summer we worked on getting messages and Jerusalem clips from a range of well-known cricket supporters, including Boris Johnson, Stephen Fry, Piers Morgan and Gary Lineker (all at no cost), along with some of the England players themselves.
To maximise the potential reach of the TwelfthMan content and message, a number of digital channels were used.
A TwelfthMan Facebook page was created, enabling fans to access exclusive content, including player interviews, imagery, competitions and celebrity clips. The page was kept regularly updated, with fan comment and discussion encouraged on a daily basis, especially in the build up to crucial England games.
YouTube was also used, with a dedicated ECB channel bringing classic archive footage, exclusive player interviews and fan-generated content to the widest possible audience.
On the first day of the final Ashes test, the ECB YouTube channel and Fans’ Jerusalem video was featured on the YouTube home page, giving a boost to awareness and viewing figures.
Twitter was a key communication channel for the TwelfthMan content, especially the Fans’ Jerusalem. Celebrities that had contributed clips were encouraged to Tweet about it to their followers, and other cricket-loving celebs were targeted and asked to post links to the content.
In addition, we targeted Twittering commentators and media figures. This activity resulted in uber-tweeters such as Stephen Fry, Lily Allen and David “Bumble” Lloyd posting messages to their legions of followers, with links to the Fans’ Jerusalem video.
In addition to social networks, generating traditional media coverage (online, broadcast and offline) was also crucial in driving awareness of the TwelfthMan content and ultimately driving more traffic to the ECB’s digital channels.
News, sport and lifestyle media were targeted, using the celebrity messages as the news hook, resulting in coverage on Radio 1, Heart FM, The Mirror, Independent and Daily Star.
The campaign had great success in engaging with over 2.6 million consumers through social media channels, including:
• Fans’ Jerusalem Video: 129,510 YouTube views
• TwelfthMan England Archive Clips: 489,533 YouTube views
• TwelfthMan Facebook Page: 8,603 fans
• TwelfthMan Twitter: 1,042 followers
Tweets by celebrities to promote the Fans’ Jerusalem video and TwelfthMan website included:
• Lily Allen: 1,222,505 followers
• Stephen Fry: 719,305 followers
• Tim Lovejoy: 46,496 followers
• David Lloyd: 38,827 followers
• ChannelBee: 1,853 followers
• David Garrido: 1,409 followers
Media coverage of the TwelfthMan campaign achieved a total potential audience reach of over 49 million, with coverage in the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail online, The Mirror, Daily Star, City AM, Five News, Radio 1 and TalkSport.
The TwelfthMan digital campaign contributed to the overall success of The Great Exhibition campaign for the summer:
• The total cricket fan base rose from 9.5m to 12.7m (up 33%)
• ECB.co.uk unique users increased to 750,000 and the site
achieved over 3m unique user visits during 2009
• Over 80,000 new names were added to the ECB
• Subscriptions to the TwelfthMan e-newsletter reached 160,000, an increase of 60% during the campaign
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