CAMPAIGNS: JUDGE AND JURY; BT’s seafaring challenge must whip up a storm overseas

The BT Global Challenge knows how to attract British media coverage but it must do more to interest the rest of the world, says Paul Vaughan, a board director of API Consulting

The BT Global Challenge knows how to attract British media coverage but

it must do more to interest the rest of the world, says Paul Vaughan, a

board director of API Consulting



The BT Global Challenge is not just another sailing event, it is an

adventure. In terms of exploitation and delivery it needs a lot of help

in ensuring that it reaches a wide audience.



The Challenge is a massive promotional vehicle, the issues are how to

deliver a PR and marketing benefit. On a PR level, the main problem is

delivering what can be perceived as a British event in a global context.



From its involvement with the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989/90,

which continued through to 1993/94, BT’s current status as title sponsor

has resulted from a need for higher profile from an event with a similar

scale and imagery.



The basis of the event is to take the man or woman off the street and

into an adventure ‘that will change their lives’. The rest of us wait

for stories of hardship and daring from the fleet as it sails the ‘wrong

way’ around the globe. Added to the ingredients are a couple of trump

cards - charity boats and a disabled crew, all designed to amplify the

principle storyline of man versus the elements and the emotion that it

can generate.



Nor must one forget the odd joumalist travelling as crew. Michael Calvin

led the way four years ago and delivered a stunning insight to the

event as well as good and continuous coverage of the Race. His exciting

and award-winning reports generated a substantial awareness of the

event.



Then there are the boat sponsors, of which there are many, but who are

in a position to amplify the overall race coverage as well as generating

their own messages. Rather than clutter, associated sponsors increase

the awareness of BT through individual promotions and mechanics around

the title event.



The build up over the last couple of years has been pretty constant

within the specialist press, although sporadic within the mainstream.

The short-term build up to the start and the gun itself fired by HRH The

Princess Royal generated enormous coverage in UK media, but was thinly

covered overseas.



If UK coverage is what everyone involved is looking for, the Race has

the potential to be a great success. The ingredients are there and there

are another ten months to run. The proof will rest with the agencies

employed to keep it alive and well before the homecoming later next

year.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.