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Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Series Leeds

Project Title: Making the World Triathlon Series a Tri-umph for Leeds

The audience

When The Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Series announced it was coming to Leeds in June 2016, we were appointed by Leeds City Council and British Triathlon to deliver a PR campaign to make the event tri-umphant for Leeds.

Representing the pinnacle of triathlon competition in the UK for amateurs and elite triathletes alike, our brief was to generate exposure, excitement and drive engagement for the event in and around the city.  Our objectives were to encourage the public to show their support, help sell Grandstand tickets and race competitor spaces and recruit volunteers for the races.

The campaign

Major sporting occasions are often bound to the back pages so our challenge was to think differently and create a campaign that would achieve high cut-through in the media and on social media channels, while highlighting the key messages and engaging with the public.

We developed a campaign of ‘Inspirational Moments’, encompassing traditional and experiential activities to engage with local audiences – businesses, residents and sports fans – and encourage them to participate as supporters, volunteers and even competitors.

Our campaign included:

  • The world’s first-ever triathlon-inspired piece of 3D street art
  • Securing BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award winner, Bailey Matthews, as a volunteer ambassador
  • Hosting an innovative social media triathlon-inspired treasure hunt around Leeds
  • Organising rival athletes to go ‘into battle’ at the Royal Armouries
  • Hosting a social media Q&A with Yorkshire’s home-grown triathletes, Jonny Brownlee and Ali Brownlee, as part of Columbia Threadneedle’s sponsorship event

This was backed by a detailed media and social engagement programme that supported each of the event partners, with content for athletes to use on their social media channels.

The influence

Our campaign generated over 150 pieces of media coverage across regional and national TV, radio, print and online, reaching an audience of over 60 million people. And on social media, we saw a  350% increase in Twitter followers for @WorldTriLeeds with over 6,000 engagements on Twitter for @WorldTriLeeds in just two months.

But more importantly, our PR helped to positively influence the target audience…

  • All Grandstand tickets sold out in less than a week
  • All 5,800 race spaces were filled
  • 500 volunteers signed up in two days following the search launch
  • Over 80,000 spectators lined the triathlon route
  • More than 1.2 million Twitter impressions for Columbia Threadneedle’s athlete Q&A, highlighting its title sponsorship and gaining widespread exposure for its brand
  • The social media treasure hunt #TriForGold received over 1.2 million impressions in less than 24 hours
  • #WTSLeeds had 3.2 million impressions in May alone

“The team at Aberfield have been a huge factor in the success of the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds. Consistently driving activity forward, Aberfield’s proactive and dynamic team have directly and positively influenced our key audiences, with innovative and creative PR activities.”    

Tom Goldspink, Communications Manager, British Triathlon

For more information about the campaign, or to discuss how we could help you achieve similar results, please contact us.

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