PR Team: Edelman
Campaign: Commonwealth Games sponsorship launch
Timescale: 1- 3 April
Microsoft decided to sponsor the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games to
showcase existing software and technology solutions, and to further
penetrate the UK market by illustrating its commitment to the
As Microsoft's corporate PR agency, Edelman needed to ensure that the
key messages were clearly conveyed and that media coverage was a broad
as possible. August.One Communications was brought on board to target
the technology media.
To position Microsoft as a committed partner in UK plc. To associate
Microsoft with the themes of the Commonwealth Games 'Spirit of
Friendship' slogan, i.e. excellence, diversity and inclusion.
Strategy and Plan
Press reports about the Commonwealth Games have traditionally been
blighted with funding issues, so it was crucial that Edelman were able
to turn this around and gain positive coverage.
A strategic media relations programme was drawn up prior to the
announcement, in which Edelman liased with all other stakeholders
including M2002 and the Cabinet Office to ensure the messages were
Britain's Commonwealth and Olympic heptathlon gold medallist Denise
Lewis endorsed the announcement giving the sponsorship campaign the edge
it needed to appeal to sports media.
Edelman also provided Microsoft with media training and background
briefings ensuring synergy between core values of the company and the
games was firmly established.
A press conference was held at the Commonwealth Institute in London on
the day of the announcement, which was attended by Microsoft
spokespersons, M2002 and Denise Lewis, who expressed her excitement that
Microsoft were supporting the Games.
Lewis also carried an iPAC - Microsoft's pocket PC - as an example of
how this technology will be used to publish games results and
information direct to the internet. Microsoft spokespeople followed up
with one-to-one interviews.
Edelman also created a bank of high impact images. Denise Lewis was
photographed among all the flags from different Commonwealth countries
lending a human-interest angle to the story. Several picture desks,
including The Scotsman, that did not attend the event ran these
Measurement and Evaluation
Six national print media and five film crews, including the BBC, Sky
News, Granada and Reuters attended the event.
Positive coverage was received across the board with key messages coming
through loud and clear; from The Guardian 'Manchester gets Microsoft
boost' to BBC Sport's 'Microsoft signs up for Manchester', and the
Manchester Evening News' 'Microsoft's hi-tech boost for 2002 Games'.
Coverage spanned all sectors of the media from national and broadcast to
regional and online media with a total number of media hits in the
region of 35.
The announcement of Microsoft's sponsorship of the Games has contributed
to its reputation as a good corporate citizen in the UK.
But the campaign has also challenged perceptions of Microsoft as a
US-focused global company by showing Microsoft actively involved in UK