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Eurobasket Lithuania 2011 integrated communications campaign celebrate basketball

European basketball championship 2011 (EB2011) was a challenge for the Government and the Lithuanian Basketball federation, for the business sector, and urban self-government, basketball fans, and safety ensuring structures.
Eurobasket Lithuania 2011 integrated communications campaign celebrate basketball


Challenge


European basketball championship 2011 (EB2011) was a challenge for the Government and the Lithuanian Basketball federation, for the business sector, and urban self-government, basketball fans, and safety ensuring structures. It was obvious that between the many questions that would arise after EB2011, two would be most prominent: a pragmatic one – whether investment expectations had been met; and the second, showing the degree of emotional satisfaction – could people feel the atmosphere of the championship?


Championship – a multi-layered concept, interpreted individually by different audiences:
  • For fans it is a “fête” of basketball religion;
  • For passive observers it is a sports fest and an uproar in the streets, recovery in everyday life;
  • For national institutions it is another historical chance to represent Lithuania in a good and bright atmosphere;
  • For the business sector it is an opportunity to provide quality services, increase turnover, and reduce unemployment.


Campaign carried out in Consortium:
  • VRP|Hill & Knowlton (our Agency) – Consortium leader, Public Relations;
  • Partner 1: The Box – Design and Advertising;
  • Partner 2: MINDSHARE – Strategic Media Planning;
  • In cooperation with MIG, Public Relations.


Insight


All the championship communication actions had to be concentrated in order to prove: expectations had been met; our “orange religion” has not only strong faith tradition, but also has a real economic effect in both the short, and the long term.We defined three main communications strategy objectives:
  • To sell tickets and visit arrangements (marketing);
  • To attract citizens to the match (to fulfill arenas);
  • To paint Lithuania in basketball colors (atmosphere).


Strategy
Having in mind we no longer had to increase ticket sales, we decided to focus communications on emotionally activating citizens. Although the number of basketball fans in Lithuania is unparalleled, many of them are passive, preferring to watch the games and related activities on TV rather than participate themselves. Thus we chose these passive fans as our primary target audience. Our strategy was to temporarily turn passive basketball fans into ultra-active fans, ensuring the active engagement of as many people as possible all over the country in creating an atmosphere of true celebration nationally, and helping us deliver the feeling abroad.


Expertise


The 8 month campaign was carried out at three levels willing to (1) PREPARE audience for the championship when organizing EB2011 ambassador’s Europe tour, preparing specialized actions for journalists and thematic campaigns in media, (2) ACTIVATE citizens through ad campaign, EB2011 anthem and video clips, interactive advertisement (BTL) in non-traditional spaces, (3) ENGAGE citizens in preparation process and the event when inviting them to participate mass events and in nationwide ball-dribbling for world record, as also in initiatives in social media.


PREPARE audience for event:
  • EB2011 ambassador Arvydas Sabonis’ Europe tour presenting event & Lithuania in international tourism exhibitions, basketball communities, embassies and media;
  • Student basketball league simulating EB2011 national teams
  • 100 days to EB2011: official presentation of EB2011 events with the Linas Kleiza Charity Fund;
  • Basketball-hoop photo competition online;
  • Creation of EB2011 mascot Amberis & TVC telling its story;
  • Special media campaign (TV shows, etc.)


ACTIVATE citizens:
  • Ad Campaign Are you ready (outdoor, decibel bus stop, online);
  • LTU & ENG versions of EB2011 anthem & video clips;
  • 5 TVCs;
  • TVC & banners for NBA.COM broadcast on 13 channels during NBA finals;
  • VNO airport interactive corridor: on-screen fans make wave for arriving travellers.
 
ENGAGE citizens in preparation process & event:
  • National team chant online contest;
  • Nationwide ball-dribbling for world record;
  • Language-school outdoor campaign teaching player name pronunciation.


During the integrated communication campaign there was maintained constant communication in media (publications, interviews, etc.)


Results


Targeted mass media campaigns combined with direct contact, interactive tools and effective coordination & consulting resulted in successful key goal attainment – Eurobasket 2011 is being evaluated as a professionally organized sports event that attracted a significant number of foreign tourists to Lithuania and audience to sports arenas, as also achieved great feedbacks about host country.


Measurable results:
  • >60k people dribbled balls for 5 min. in 6 EB2011 cities & 5 social centers;
  • Anthem 24 h after launch: 113,000 Youtube views, 55,000 Delfi TV (largest national online portal) views, 45,500 shares on Facebook, 1922 “Likes” on Lithuania’s largest online basketball community;
  • 530 chants posted online;
  • 172,774 banner clicks;
  • 91% TV ad audience reach, 96-98% overall Campaign reach;
  • (Considering the nature of the event, we are unable to take credit for all the press and online media publications that appeared).


Other Interesting figures:
  • 158,000 tickets sold (75% of total);
  • 20,000 foreign visitors;
  • 135,000 local viewers (in the arenas) and 120,000 people in the “fan zones”.