Client: Worldwide Brands Incorporated
PR Team: GCI and RPM Photographic
Campaign: Event PR for Camel Trophy 2000
Timescale: January 1999-July 2000
Since 1980 the Camel Trophy has been one of the world's most glamorous international adventure events, combining mental and physical challenges in exotic locations.
The event has been run bi-annually by Worldwide Brands Inc (WBI) to promote its Camel Trophy adventure wear and has grown to attract worldwide media interest.
The last-ever Camel Trophy was staged in Tonga and Samoa last July, involving 32 finalists from 16 countries. For the first time the entire event was water-based, using 50 Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs).
To maximise worldwide media coverage for Camel and the Camel Trophy, reinforcing its position as the ultimate adventure event with the core audience of 18 to 30-year-olds.
Strategy and Plan
Eighteen months before the event GCI and specialist photographic agency RPM established an international press office in London, preparing background information and images on the Camel Trophy's history and philosophy.
Announcements about the event's location, sponsors and activities were drip-fed to UK press and local WBI co-ordinators in 16 markets and 22 countries.
GCI and RPM staged a series of events showcasing the specially designed RIBs and Camel Trophy Roadshow at the Southampton and London Boat Shows and The Daily Telegraph Adventure Travel and Sports Show. These presented a perfect forum to recruit 'adventurers' for the UK team - and engage the media.
A press trip to Curacao for the final selections resulted in extensive coverage in Front and Daily Express, as well as various specialist titles.
Two weeks before the event, GCI sent a team of 12 to Tonga and Samoa to set up three on-site press offices. A last-minute change of venue from Fiji, because of political unrest there, increased the pressure to get everything up and running in time.
A critical function of the press office was to supply enough material to satisfy the needs of national, lifestyle, features, sports and youth media around the world. An 'on the water' team from GCI sent interviews with competitors by satellite phone to colleagues in Samoa and Tonga, who issued them electronically to press and posted them on the Camel Trophy website.
Photography formed an important part of the PR effort. Six RPM photographers shot up to 500 digital images a day. Around a dozen news images each day were sent via ISDN and satellite phone to event HQs in Samoa and Tonga, and then wired to picture editors worldwide.
In addition, RPM handled around 20 individual press photo requests a day, using digital technology to send pictures back to Europe within 15 minutes of shooting.
Five hundred digital images a day were also posted on a copyright-free website from which journalists could request pictures via ISDN, e-mail, CD or transparency.
Measurement and Evaluation
One hundred and eighty-nine journalists attended Camel Trophy 2000, while hundreds more were in daily contact with the press offices. Teams from Maxim, Sky TV, The Times, Independent on Sunday, National Geographic, Transworld Sport and ITV flew out for the event.
In the UK the event achieved coverage for the first time on terrestrial TV with a report on Anglia. There was also extensive coverage on Sky Sports, in ten national newspapers, 200 regional newspapers, 15 men's lifestyle magazines and 22 specialist adventure and boating titles.
The last-ever Camel Trophy was a resounding success with the media. Coverage in the UK almost doubled from the previous event in 1998, and worldwide coverage was up by 42 per cent.
Camel Trophy Adventure wear was discontinued in October, replaced by a new range called Camel Active, but the event helped generate interest in Camel and the Camel spirit and build the WBI brand.