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It’s not often that Yorkshire, England, is in the spotlight on the world stage, but this weekend it certainly was.
The Tour de France kicked off and Yorkshire businesses and infrastructure experienced millions of people turning out to see the Départ.
I thought I’d do a little round up of the official supporters of the Grand Départ that have been making the most of the media’s attention.
If you've clicked on this article because you're interested in cycling, check out Econsultancy's Marketing Cycle. You can join us as we and senior marketers cycle to Paris in October.
Yorkshire Building Society
Some proper stunt marketing from Yorkshire Building Society, a Départ supporter.
Marketing agency Soul dyed a herd of sheep yellow. The pictures are stunning and have already been social media gold, featuring on BuzzFeed and big news outlets.
The Yorkshire Building Society’s YouTube page has some associated content, but unfortunately it doesn’t really add anything to the pictures.
However, YBS is also the sponsor for ITV's Grand Départ coverage and has an out-of-home campaign underway. It seems to be the Yorkshire brand attempting the biggest campaign around the Tour, and I'm sure the sheep have already paid dividends.
Leeds and Bradford International Airport
Props go to LBIA as the most digitally active of the Départ’s supporters. The airport has sponsored a gaming app, the Tour de Yorkshire, created by twentysix, so that mobile users can race virtually through the Yorkshire landscape.
Tony Hallwood, Aviation Development & Marketing Director at Leeds Bradford Airport, said:
The Tour de Yorkshire game showcases some of the region’s top locations, so the gamer will experience racing through Yorkshire as the professionals will be during the race.
Leeds Bradford Airport is the gateway to Yorkshire, with over 70 direct routes from around the world and hundreds more achievable with connecting services via London Heathrow with British Airways and Amsterdam Schiphol with KLM.
Sheffield Hallam University
This is another of the supporters of the Départ. Unfortunately SHU’s website was down at time of writing and linked directly to its I.T. function’s Twitter account. It’s a shame the account is so uninspiring.
Checking back a couple of days after the tour has left Yorkshire, the website is back up and looks great, if slightly out of date in its call to action.
Sheffield Hallam has had some great exposure though throughout the race, with its branded Land Rover’s backing up the peloton. With 2.5m people on the route in Yorkshire, this is valuable branding.
SHU has had success on Twitter, however, the University could probably stand to post a bit more to its Facebook account, given the platforms use by prospective students.
SHU has put on a whole host of events, from the science of cycling to a film festival to sponsored rides. An exhibition inspired by the TdF is running, too, to capitalise on people staying in the city. Hallam has also been hosting big screens for many to watch the action on campus.
The University of Sheffield got in the act, too, with this rather clever reference to its biology creds.
N.B. 8th July 2014 16:00
Since publishing this post, Sheffield Hallam has updated its website and now hosts the chance to relive The Grand Départ through a colourful photo gallery. Despite the difficulties that came with an unforeseen power surge on campus, the Sheffield Hallam team has embraced the Tour and has already acknowledge how much it has gained for staff, students and brand.
Taylor’s of Harrogate
Taylor’s had a coffee blend created especially for The Grand Départ. However, the brand doesn’t go too much further online other than a page on the website.
The Twitter account definitely has room to improve. There’s some nice imagery, but nothing of the Tour itself and a lack of hashtags.
The brand could be hoovering up new followers if it was engaging with the race itself, rather than simply the coffee served at the festival of cycling. Taylor's advertises in cinemas and on television, so is likely to place emphasis here.
This brand is part of Taylor's of Harrogate and has done some neat marketing. Check out the special edition packs of Yorkshire Thé below.
This brand is the official tea partner and has had its own vehicles following the route. Yorkshire Tea has been having lots of fun on its Twitter and Facebook accounts, as shown below, with competitions and plenty of retweeting of happy tea drinkers at the Tour.
Yorkshire Tea has a history of supporting cycling, the brand ran some tactical advertising for its Yorkshire Gold blend after the London Olympics of 2012. The brand has also been touring some static cycling challenges around London railway stations over the past few days.
On the whole it has been a nice and varied promotion from Yorkshire Tea, with emphasis on the cycling but with the addition of tongue in cheek tea references.
VisitEngland’s website has a healthy Tour de France section showcasing the regions involved in the Départ.
There’s also a TV ad campaign planned for Channel 5, promoting cycling in England’s counties.
The organisation has recently run a series of blog posts on the same lines. Titled ‘Tour de Angleterre’, each post looks at a different route from the English stages.
Le Tour Yorkshire
Yorkshire.com has its own microsite working with the TdF for The Grand Départ, showcasing all the news from the English stages.
It's a great site and achieves a good blend of photgraphs, travel and accommodation, maps, merchandise and editorial.
It seems the demand for merchandise from this site was rather underestimated as there was soon a lack of jerseys. They are still only available to pre-order. A missed opportunity there although undoubtedly there’ll be demand for pre-orders, too.
This tallies with a survey undertaken by Savvy Marketing, polling 1,000 UK household shopping decision makers to see how they would be engaging with the TdF. Engagement was significantly higher in Yorkshire, with 44% of Yorkshire shoppers interested.
Predictably, the Twitter account for Le Tour Yorkshire was chiefly retweeting great images from the many that lined the route, such as this beauty.
Welcome to Yorkshire
Yorkshire.com and the tourist board have been very well prepared for the tour, building the excitement for the last year and providing information for tourists.
Its YouTube content has shown the region off to the fullest, too.
On the whole, I think these Tour supporters are aware of the impact of out-of-home on such a big event, as well as television. However, Yorkshire Tea shows how engaging on social media can help to draw out the brand impact over a longer time period, making use of the run up to the Départ.
The tourist board has done a great job online, too, and ultimately enabled almost 3m spectators to see the Départ by building up to the event over a year.
I'm surprised more hasn't been done on social media by brands to really ramp up the post rate whilst interest is high. It seems as though there haven't been many hands on the pumps over weekend shifts.
For an event like this, it's likely high post rate won't alienate followers for the week. The opportunity is there to tap into an audience of cycling fanatics, not just to reiterate brand messaging with a slight Tour twist.
Sheffield Hallam and Yorkshire tourism will are likely to have some lasting benefit and it's a shame that SHU's website was down for such an important period.