LDV UNITED, Antwerp / HET NIEUWSBLAD / 2020
Het Nieuwsblad is Belgium’s leading newspaper for editorial cycling content.Our cycling content tagline is “We own cycling”. This is a translation for “De koers is van ons”, which is hard to translate. “De koers” is a typical Flemish word that encompasses every discipline and all things cycling: road cycling, cyclocross, everything about the riders, the teams, the sponsors…
After the opening race, Het Nieuwsblad planned a communication campaign to highlight their cycling involvement. But due to Covid19, all sports events in Belgium were cancelled as of the beginning of March. So we needed to find a way to talk about cycling without having any actual race and our message needed to be aligned with the Covid-19 situation. Objective? Claim that Het Nieuwsblad is still the no 1 newspaper for cycling news and spread a message of hope & support in these difficult Covid-19 times.
In a normal year, millions of fans would be cheering on their cycling heroes but this spring other heroes took centre stage: the health workers who were fighting for the nation’s health. So we turned the course of the cancelled Tour of Flanders into an ode to our nation’s health workers. The Cobblestone Tribute was born.
On the most iconic roads of the race we painted the names of hundreds of anonymous health workers with the same last name as professional riders, turning Flanders’ empty hills into monuments to honour healthcare workers nationwide.
The biggest one-day race in Flanders and the rest of the world is The Tour of Flanders. Every year, it’s almost a national holiday for all cycling enthusiasts. This gave us the momentum to spread our message of hope & support. A message of understanding but also with a big thumbs up to everyone who was contributing to help defeat the virus. We wanted to use this momentum to spread our message.
Key message: Don’t go looking for your cycling heroes. Meet the real Covid-19 heroes.
Our usual target group is everyone with a heart for cycling but for this campaign we targeted the whole of Flanders.
We developed a video and a key visual to be used in a full page print ad, on social media channels and aired on national television.
The Cobblestone Tribute was aired on national TV at the exact time the race was supposed to take place. At the same time, the most famous pro riders started sharing the film online. Fans and journalists followed and by the end of the day the Cobblestone Tribute was picked up by all other newspapers, further increasing the reach of the story.
Launch on 5 April 2020, aired 5 and 6 April.
Several TV channels in Belgium from DPG media and SBS. Several media platforms picked up the news, which was also widely covered on social media.
+15 million impressions
7 in 10 Belgians were reached
€4 million in earned media value
? Media Peace for One Day: For the first time in years, and for one day, the war between the Belgian media brands was put on hold. All competing newspaper outlets covered the campaign of Het Nieuwsblad and shared the video on all their digital platforms, increasing the reach to 70% of all Belgians.
? This campaign was used by ACC (association of communication companies in Belgium) as a benchmark case for communication in times of crisis.
? In one weekend, the Cobblestone Tribute generated over 15 million impressions, reached 7 in 10 Belgians and earned €4 million in media value.