In 2009 An Post expanded their sponsorship of Irish Cycling to include a new grassroots initiative, the An Post Cycle Series, with the objective of getting Irish people, young and old, back on their bikes and out into the community. The Cycle Series consists of five mass participation cycling events held across Ireland over the summer months. The challenge in 2014 was to engage new audiences, specifically female and male sports fans not currently cycling, and to impact positively on brand affinity in key communities across Ireland.
The campaign strategy was to encourage people to “Become a Series Cyclist” by demonstrating the positive effects cycling can have, through our ambassadors: Marian Heffernan, Niall Breslin, Paul Galvin, PJ Gallagher and Matt Cooper. They proved essential in driving awareness and registrations through the media partnership, local PR activity, as well as their own social media channels, engaging with communities at a regional and national level.
To drive mass participation, we initiated a broadcast media partnership with Today FM. The “Become A Series Cyclist” message was driven effectively through the key morning and evening radio shows, with targeted promotions, stings and OB’s in the weeks leading up to each race, which had a significant impact on event registrations.
An Post’s social media channels were crucial to promoting the Series, driving key messaging and brand engagement. To coincide with the campaign launch, An Post opened a competition to find five Cycle Series ‘Spokestars’, whereby people entered by telling An Post their goal for the 2014 Cycle Series and why they would make good ambassadors. In return An Post provided the support they needed to achieve their goal, providing a former pro cyclist as a mentor, training days, new gear, nutritional advice and entry into each event.
The sponsorship has had a hugely positive impact on brand perception and affinity, delivering above and beyond campaign targets.
- €1.97 million in PR coverage with over 170 national and regional print mentions
- 22% felt inspired to start cycling more than usual
- 48% were more favourable to An Post due to this sponsorship
- 41% agreed that An Post’s sponsorship of cycling made them more likely to use their services
- 8% increase in female participants
- 16,861 participants
- Local economic impact of the participating tours and venues amounted to a conservative €2.8 million in 2014