Cannes Lions

Tour des Femmes

FALLON LONDON / SKODA / 2019

Awards:

2 Silver Cannes Lions
1 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

Cycling is an important territory for ŠKODA. The company actually started 120 years ago by making bicycles, and still does to this day. It has supported cycling ever since, sponsoring cycling events and athletes, including a 15-year sponsorship of the (men's) Tour de France and a partnership with the (male and female) Tour of Britain.

However, we realised something was wrong: women weren't allowed to compete in the Tour de France, cycling's premier competition.

The brief for cycling in 2018 was to leverage ŠKODA's cycling assets, always building "Driven by Something Different". The long-term brand strategy was to increase emotional resonance and appeal to a younger, more female-focused audience.

For this specific project, the goal was to increase overall brand favourability, which historically trended well among cyclists. Could we extend the positive sentiment among cyclists to the general public?

Idea

To this day, there's still no official women's Tour de France. The reasons usually given for this are: (i) women aren't capable of doing the whole 21-stage, 3,351km course; (ii) there's not enough interest from the public for it.

To prove them wrong, arguing wouldn't be enough. We needed irrefutable evidence.

So ŠKODA selected a team of 13 women to ride all 21 stages, all 3,351 kilometres of the Tour de France. One day ahead of the professional male cyclists. They were joined by hundreds of people that cycled with them in person, and hundreds of thousands more who cheered them on online.

We supported them and promoted their journey to the world through TV, social platforms, online videos and PR effort.

They proved that it was possible, debunked naysayers, ignited a discussion and set the stage for change to happen.

Strategy

We identified a problem hiding in plain sight in the world of cycling: a gender gap. Only 26% of road cyclists in the UK are women. There’s no Tour de France for women. Female cyclists just aren’t getting the attention and recognition they deserve.

So we set the goal of getting more women into cycling. The approach was to increase the visibility of female cyclists, inspiring other women to get on a bike.

Other than several initiatives throughout the year — including a newspaper campaign with striking portraits of female cyclists —, we decided to use cycling's main event to make a stand and call attention to the gender gap in cycling.

Tour des Femmes was born. A team of 13 amazing women cycling the whole course of the Tour de France (21 stages and 3,351 kilometres), always doing each stage one day ahead of the professional male cyclists.

Execution

ŠKODA assembled a team of female cyclists, supported them on every single kilometer of the journey and told their story to the world, while they cycled each stage of the Tour de France one day ahead of the men.

We relied on Twitter to drive conversation and to document the day-to-day of the cyclists, promoting their progress with daily updates, footage and personal interview films, using both ŠKODA's account and the team's account.

We secured 30" TV spots during ITV4's coverage of the Men’s Tour De France, to showcase the team’s mission and rally support for change.

Supporters could watch the ride in real time via Facebook Live. Cyclists rode stages with the team, using the Strava app. They were escorted by hundreds of cyclists in their finish in Paris.

Finally, we encouraged people to voice their support by asking media members to cover the story. It worked.

Outcome

The project started a conversation and was covered all around the world, including the most shared piece of content in ŠKODA's history and an impressive 7500% ROI.

It was covered by the BBC, ITV, Telegraph, The Guardian, ABC, CBS, Washington Post, Le Figaro, Mashable and even the United Nations, impacting more than 300+ million people.

The online videos posted on Twitter delivered 318% engagement against brand benchmarks. The TV spots during ITV4's Tour de France coverage delivered 5.3M adult impacts. The TV had a clear impact on search volumes, driving a 47% increase in searches and 166% increase in clicks.

Most importantly: by the end of the project, UCI president David Lappartient announced he wanted to see a women’s Tour de France by the end of his presidency. ŠKODA is in talks with ASO, which organises the Tour de France, to make that a reality.

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