Campaigns: Events PR - Extreme PR pulls in the crowds

Client: Board-X

Client: Board-X

PR Team: In-house and JCPR

Campaign: Sprite Urban Games

Timescale: December 1999 - 4 August 2000

Budget: Undisclosed

The Sprite Urban Games were held on London’s Clapham Common for the

second year running from Friday 4 - Sunday 6 August. The event is the

brainchild of Board-X, the extreme sports event organiser. The Urban

Games feature a number of types of street culture, including

graffiti-art, skateboarding, BMX-ing and breakdancing. This year’s event

also had a sound stage that attracted artists such as Rae and Christian,

and the Herbaliser.


To bring extreme sports to a wider audience and to attract enough press

coverage to both pull in the crowds and beat last year’s festival

attendance figures. To raise the profile of Board-X and establish it as

the premier extreme sports organiser.

Strategy and Plan

The planning started in December and intensified as the festival

approached. Originally all PR for the event was handled by JCPR, until

Board-X employed Lucie Wallis to head its in-house team.

The target audience was 14-to 35-year-olds, from around the UK.

Initially Board-X examined the trends of skate and BMX consumers by

assessing extreme sports magazines and their readership.

Once the target interest group was identified, adverts were placed in

niche magazines, including Knowledge, Sidewalk and Surfer. But the

organisers also wanted to reach other potentially interested parties

which called for national media coverage.

A press event was organised for the Friday afternoon which attracted the

London Today programme and Radio 5 Live from the broadcast media, along

with representatives from the satellite channels Nickelodeon, MTV, Sky

One and the Channel 5’s Rad. There were also a couple of documentary

crews filming at the event (one for BBC 2).

Pre-event media coverage was also secured in monthly style magazines,

such as Sleazenation, Dazed and Confused and Jockey Slut.

Co-sponsors of the event (along with drinks brand Sprite) were trainer

companies Vans and Etnies, leading bicycle manufacturers GT, new men’s

toiletry range So, satellite channel Trouble TV and web-site

Trouble TV took an outdoor broadcast van to the Urban Games for visitors

to record messages (’shouts’) to their friends to be aired on the


Other major brands also had a presence, including music equipment

company Gemini which erected a scratch tent where DJs competed for

mixing equipment.

The Schwheppes’ Sprite was omnipresent but the new energy drink company

Diamond Red was giving away samples and Morgan’s Spiced Rum had a

DJ-hosted tent which also offered free drinks.

Playstation/Dreamcast machines where also at the site, and visitors

could play the Sega game Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX (Radar PR covered the


Measurement and Evaluation

The campaign resulted in pre-festival coverage in a range of national


The London Today slot served as a massive boost to the campaign. The

programme presented a live broadcast from Clapham Common that aired

following its coverage of the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday


Broadsheets such as the Independent, the Guardian and the Times devoted

column inches to the event. Among other papers to carry articles were

the Evening Standard and the Daily Mirror.

A diverse range of magazines such as Time Out, J17, Level, Front, and

Health and Fitness also provided considerable coverage.

Last year an estimated 12,000 people turned up to the event and, this

time round, the figure topped the 20,000 mark, including competitors and

press representatives.


Thanks to the enormous amount of press coverage attained, Sprite Urban

Games attracted the highest attendance figures for an extreme sporting

event in the UK.

The event managed to attract sponsorship from a number of recently

launched brands that are being targeted at the same young audience.

Attendance was almost double that of last year, indicating that the

campaign succeeded in reaching its target audience. It also acquired new

visitors, as set out in the initial brief.

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