Lithuanian Basketball Federation Promo, Case study 60.000 BASKETBALLS BOUNCING by VIP Communications

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Industry Sports Teams & Events
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Lithuania
Agency VIP Communications
Director Darius Gudelis
Designer Mantas Palaima
Released May 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Travel, Tourism & Leisure
Product/Service: EUROBASKET 2011
Director: Darius Gudelis (VIP Communications)
Account Manager: Loreta Stakauskaite (VIP Communications)
Public Relations Account Manager: Giedrius Galdikas (VIP Communications)
Executive Director: Dovile Miskinyte (VIP Communications)
Account Manager: Regina Fraimanaite (VIP Communications)
Account Manager: Jurate Navickaite (VIP Communications)
Account Manager: Jurga Brazauskaite (VIP Communications)
Junior Account Manager: Justinas Gapsys (VIP Communications)
Junior Account Manager: Simona Rutkauskaite (VIP Communications)
Designer: Mantas Palaima (VIP Communications)
Project Director: Marius Rimkaitis (Box)
Account Director: Jaroslav Kokoskin (Mindshare Uab Via Media)
Media placement: Press Conference - - 23 May 2011
Media placement: Press Releases - - 23 May - 16 September 2011
Media placement: Digital PR - - 25 July - 29 August 2011
Media placement: Direct PR - - 01 August - 29 August 2011
Media placement: Publicity Events - - 28 July - 29 August 2011

Summary of the Campaign
A nation-wide basketball-bouncing event was organised in Lithuania to celebrate its hosting Eurobasket 2011. Since Lithuania last hosted the championship way back in 1939, demand for tickets in this basketball obsessed nation was high and not everyone could get a ticket to national team games. So how could everyone, even those that couldn’t get into the arenas, get a chance to feel that they were also part of the team?

We invited people from 6 Eurobasket-2011 host-cities and 5 community centres to become members of the same team by dribbling basketballs at the same time. More than 60,000 people bounced basketballs simultaneously for 5 minutes. The event was broadcast live by the country’s most popular TV station, so even those who were not dribbling the orange ball at that moment could still experience a feeling of togetherness and triumph.

It took weeks of preparation but each step was a chance for publicity. Domestic media coverage began by meeting 60,000 specially-imprinted, flat, orange balls shipped from China. Later, separate events were organised for the public to inflate balls in different cities.
The event broke the record and impressed foreign visitors; a positive emotional environment was ensured in both, public and media, and ticket sales for Eurobasket reached the highest in history. FIBA Europe recognised the championship as the best ever.

PR elements of the campaign: press releases, press conferences, digital PR, direct PR, publicity events.

The Situation
The campaign was created for the local organisers of Eurobasket 2011, when it became clear that most fans of the Lithuanian national team would not be able to watch the championship games live in the arenas where their team was going to play. Local fans were not buying tickets for foreign-team games.

A basketball-obsessed nation was divided into the few who had tickets and the majority who didn’t. This long-awaited event threatened to become a disappointment – both financially and emotionally.

We proposed to organise a nationwide basketball-related event with massive, direct public-participation.

The Goal
• Main goal:
Create a positive, emotional environment for EUROBASKET 2011 and ensure its financial success.

• Goals:
- Encourage fans to watch games at special fan-zones that were constructed beside every arena with a large screen and outdoor-seating available.
- Promote a healthy lifestyle and reduce social exclusion.

• Target groups:
- basketball fans; public; media; influence groups (politicians, social- and public-institutions, businesses).

Lithuania was also hoping to host major international basketball events in the future, so it was also important to strengthen Lithuania’s image as a basketball-nation for FIBA officials.

The Strategy
The campaign’s strategy was built on targeting Lithuanian basketball fans or about 90% of population.

The main idea was to transform fans from spectators into participants and let them feel important for this long-awaited event. The solution was a nation-wide basketball-bouncing event, which took place at the opening of Eurobasket 2011. We invited people from 6 Eurobasket-2011 host-cities to become members of the same team by dribbling basketballs at the same time. Each step of a campaign was a chance for the public to get involved.

FIBA officials were so fascinated with the nation-wide event that it donated basketballs to participants to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Lithuanian basketball fans were informed about the event through different channels of communications; outdoor billboards, web- and radio-ads, direct-mailing and a special website were created to attract the maximum number of participants by allowing them to register and by encouraging competition between cities.


• May-June:
- Kick-off via an interactive presentation. First, ball-bouncing demonstrations by basketball players, celebrities and journalists.

• July:
- 60 000 specially-imprinted, flat, orange balls were shipped from China.
- The website’s online registration was activated. Online results stimulated competition between cities for participants.
- 'Inflate the balls' action in Klaipeda - 10,000 balls were inflated in 2 days!
- The advertising campaign started.

• August:
- The 'inflate the balls' events in the other 5 Eurobasket 2011 cities.
- Community centres joined in; donations to a charity fund began.
- Due to strong interest, more balls were donated.

- Eurobasket 2011 opened on 29/08/2011 in 6 championship cities and 5 social centres. Participants bounced balls simultaneously for 5 minutes. Live TV broadcasts happened with cities connected via a ‘TV Bridge’. Politicians, fans, celebrities - all were equal and united by a love of basketball.

• September:
- Press releases announced.
- Lithuanian ball-bouncing record confirmed by a Factum record-agency official.
- Announcement of total donations.

Documented Results
• The event had more than 60,000 participants (every 30th Lithuanian between the ages of 15-65 years). Over 49,000 people registered on the website.

• Community centres, such as prisons, participated, promoting a healthy lifestyle for socially-sensitive groups and stimulating their integration.

• Ticket sales were the highest in Eurobasket history. (75% of the total were sold.)

• Crime in Eurobasket cities dropped by 10% compared to the same period during the previous year.

• Specially-designed Eurobasket screenings in public areas near arenas were watched by 120,000 people.

• The number of positive stories about Eurobasket 2011 increased from March to August by 111% while negative messages decreased more than 4 times.

• FIBA Europe recognised Eurobasket 2011 as the best championship ever organised.

• Public in Lithuania recognised Eurobasket 2011 as the event of the year.