Campaign: Hong Kong piggybacks rugby in tourist quest

To promote Hong Kong as a destination for UK visitors, the Hong Kong Tourism Board piggybacked British interest in the annual Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament (this year held between 31 March and 2 April). The board hired agency Radio Lynx, which specialises in bespoke radio and audio campaigns.

Campaign Hong Kong Sevens' 2006
Client Hong Kond tourism board
PR team Radio Lynx
Timescale 28 March-3 April 2006
Budget Undisclosed

Objectives
To raise media awareness of the Hong Kong Sevens tournament and score regional and local coverage in the UK for the English, Scottish and Welsh sides. To highlight Hong Kong as a must-see destination.

Strategy and Plan
Radio Lynx was given full access by the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union and International Rugby Board to secure pre- and post-match interviews with players, including team captains and coaches, from each British side.

To ensure speedy delivery and a stream of fresh content, audio was edited and sent back to stations in the UK, via the internet, within half an hour of each match. The audio featured information on the tournament, match analyses and interviews from the dressing room.

To ensure coverage included positive tourism information, interviewees were asked for their impressions of Hong Kong and to reveal why the area offered a unique experience. The Radio Lynx team -  which was pitchside - also responded to email requests for bespoke audio, tailored to the interests of individual stations. In addition, it secured a live interview with victorious England captain Simon Amour, minutes after his team had won the tournament, plus an interview with former prime minister John Major, who was in attendance.

In the run-up to the event, Radio Lynx set up a competition with Capital Gold, offering the chance to win tickets and an all-expenses-paid trip to Hong Kong courtesy of Gulliver Sports Travel. This was followed up by a live interview on Capital Gold with the England team.

During the tournament, the agency created daily podcasts featuring reviews of each day's play along with players' comments. These were avail­able to download from iTunes.

Measurement and Evaluation
The Hong Kong Sevens tournament reached more than 14 million listeners, with coverage on radio stations including TalkSport, Radio Five Live and the Capital Gold Network.

The event was also picked up by more than 100 regional and local stations, ranging from Real Radio Yorkshire and Severn Sound to BBC Northampton, Northants 96 and 2-Ten FM in Reading.

Results
The Hong Kong Tourism Board is unable to say how activities have influenced enquiries about, or visitor numbers to, the former British territory. However, this information should become available after next spring's tournament, as part of a comparative study.

Severn Sound head of sport Duncan Cook says Radio Lynx's output provided rugby fans in Gloucestershire with a much-needed sense of what was happening on the other side of the world. He adds: ‘With a small team it is impossible to cover these events ourselves, so to have audio from the players, sent straight to us by email, gave us a great opportunity.'

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