Giant Promo, Case study EVERYDAY RIDER SPONSORSHIPS by Leo Burnett Melbourne

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Industry Bicycles
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Australia
Agency Leo Burnett Melbourne
Executive Creative Director Jason Williams
Art Director Justin Nagorcka
Copywriter Sarah Mcgregor
Released July 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Sponsorship
Advertiser: GIANT
Product/Service: BICYCLES
Executive Creative Director: Jason Williams (Leo Burnett Melbourne)
Copywriter: Sarah Mcgregor (Leo Burnett Melbourne)
Art Director: Justin Nagorcka (Leo Burnett Melbourne)
General Manager: Patrick Rowe (Leo Burnett Melbourne)
Media placement: Consumer PR - In-store - 1 July 2011
Media placement: Digital PR - Blogs, Websites, Reviews - 1 July 2011
Media placement: Internal Communications - Staff and Retailers - 1 July 2011
Media placement: Sponsorship PR - Athletic Partnerships - 1 July 2011
Media placement: Mainstream PR - Newspaper, Magazines, TV, Radio - 1 July 2011

Summary of the Campaign
When it comes to cycling, or indeed any sport, the typical formula is to sponsor a pro athlete. Shower them with cash and free product and ensure they get plenty of media coverage so everyone else looks up to them.

We wondered how relevant this was to the vast majority of riders who don’t aspire to be professionals, the everyday bike riders. Wouldn’t we be better off celebrating them? After all, they support the sport with their own money, they’ve given up their cars, they help out the environment, invest in their health and are out there every day, just pedalling for the love of it.

So we decided to do the polar opposite of what had come before, we would ditch the pros and sponsor normal, every day riders instead. A recruitment TVC was aired during the Tour De France with back-up digital activity, driving people to sign up via Giant’s website.

From a PR point of view both the public response to the campaign and the PR tools it equipped Giant with were incredibly successful. The audience became the media, spreading the idea across the net on social media networks, bike websites and blogs. Via their sponsored ‘everyday riders’ Giant also now have an Australia-wide network of brand ambassadors that work to inspire cyclists of all abilities by appearing at events and PR drivers like demo days, skills workshops, product launches, women’s cycling programs and events like ‘Ride like King Day' and the upcoming ‘Everyday Riders Tour’.

The Situation
Giant is one of the world’s largest producers of bikes. They produce every kind from top-of-the-line carbon fibre racers to pink balance bikes for 6-year-olds. By far their biggest output, however, is in bikes for the everyday rider. Although Giant is well-known, there is ‘brand blindness’ in the category, with many riders either not remembering or not really caring about which brand they ride.

Giant needed to stand out in a market saturated with cycling brands following the usual formula of sponsoring pro riders and running spots during the Tour De France starring famous athletes.

The Goal
1. Inspire the broader audience of cyclists to participate with the brand – not just the top end.

2. Win the hearts and minds of everyday cyclists so they’re proud to ride a Giant.

3. Populate an online community that would act as a CRM platform for the brand.

The everyday rider, people who ride for fitness and fun and who don’t wear lycra or compete in races. They didn’t feel any particular affinity to a brand, so there was a real opportunity to target them directly. We spoke to everyday riders and analysed riding communities.

The Strategy
We purposely set out to create a campaign that acknowledged real rider, that inspired them and gave them a pat on the back for what they were already doing. After all, these everyday riders are the true heroes of cycling: they support the sport with their own money; they’ve given up their cars; they help the environment, invest in their health and are simply out there, pedalling for the love of it.

We knew that if we did something that resonated with them, they would not only love us for it, but help us spread the message. This was important with only a small budget, and it worked better than we ever anticipated – riders, touched that a major brand was shining a light on them, spread the idea across the internet, all over the world.

We ran spots during the Tour De France telecast that encouraged everyday riders to sign up for a sponsorship.

The campaign was continued online via Giant’s website, soon spreading across thousands of websites, social media networks and blogs as the idea gathered momentum and was shared by countless excited cyclists.

2 months later, 30 riders were chosen to become the official face of Giant. They appeared in an advertising campaign that ran across Australia and in Giant’s network of stores and dealerships. They were leveraged in PR activity, speaking to the media and taking part in events like demo days and product launches. Their accessibility also made them perfect for online activity, chatting to other cyclists via Giant’s new community, blogging and writing reviews.

These Australia-wide brand advocates will continue to promote the brand and champion Giant’s democratic riding message.

Documented Results
The idea was spread for free by the very people we were targeting, resulting in a huge buzz of online chatter about the brand and the sponsorship program.

The popularity of the promotion resulted in a massive number of applications and a leap in traffic to Giant’s website of over 2,300%.

Every application automatically became a member of Giant’s community, creating a database of riders that Giant can continue to converse with.

Via their 30 sponsored riders, Giant now have an Australia-wide network of brand ambassadors who will continue to promote the brand and inspire other riders.

And most gratifyingly, sales of Giant bikes peaked at their highest ever in the months following the campaign.