#ashescycle #fundraising #pr #socialmedia #success

“Are you happy to get involved again in promoting our national cycle challenge to coincide with this year’s Ashes Test Series?” this was the question we were asked by James Bedingfield from Investec Wealth & Investment, back in January. Our PR and social media team jumped at the chance, after the huge fundraising and media success of the Investec Ashes Cycle Challenge in 2013.

So since the beginning of this year, we have been working closely with some of the Directors and the marketing team from Investec Wealth & Investment and the Lord’s Taverners charity to manage the PR and social media campaign for the Investec Ashes 2015 Cycle Challenge.

This year’s challenge was a 300 mile trek around the Ashes test cricket grounds, starting at Old Trafford in Manchester and taking in Trent Bridge, Edgbaston, Lords and the Kia Oval in London.

In 2013, we generated £488k of media coverage and the challenge itself raised £280k for the Lord’s Taverners and a number of local charities.

This year, the aim was to make the cycle challenge even bigger and better. More cyclists from the company signed up to take part – with 100 people in total cycling between the five Ashes test cricket grounds over a four day period in July 2015.

Investec was successful in securing a fantastic challenge ambassador: former England cricketer Darren Gough, who was great from both a media perspective as well as for team morale boosting! Other celebrities included former Commonwealth award winning diver Leon Taylor, England cricketer Tim Bresnan and former Stoke City footballer Matthew Etherington.

The build-up to the challenge was very important to enable us to secure as much coverage beforehand and maximise visits to the fundraising page. This was so successful that Investec was able to announce a fundraising total of £250k at the start of the challenge in Manchester.

As well as managing media relations, we also set up and ran a Facebook page for the challenge. This generated over 120 Likes and we engaged with 19,585 people via the Facebook page and reached over 2.3m people.

We also supported the challenge via Twitter, through use of the hashtag #AshesCycle, with 209 people tweeting about the challenge and 3.9m people reached via Twitter. Social media was a great way to communicate during the challenge, enabling us to share photos and video updates with cyclists and supporters and generating even more traffic to the fundraising page.

So, it was on a drizzly, grey Sunday morning at 7am that the challenge started. Myself and colleagues from our video partners met at Old Trafford Emirates Stadium to set up for the media interviews and photographs with the sporting celebrities and Investec staff in order to capture the exciting start to the challenge.

We worked closely with the Lord’s Taverner’s charity and ExpeditionWise, the organisers of the challenge, to co-ordinate media interviews and video footage throughout the ride. We generated some great regional newspaper coverage in all the major cities covered Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham and London. There was also some superb national and sports media coverage, including the Daily Mail, Daily Star, Express, Cycling Weekly and TalkSport.

One of the highlights of the event from a PR point of view was securing four minutes of TV coverage on ITV. This included an interview with Darren Gough and it gave a fantastic boost to the cyclists and helped to towards raising even more funds. The total amount raised from the challenge beat all expectations – £320k!

So, after a frantic but fantastic four days of cycling and co-ordinating media interviews, the results are out:

Media coverage
Broadcast media £426,000
Printed media £201,995
Total: £627,995

Social media evaluation
209 tweets about the challenge
3,902,158 people reached through Twitter
45 separate individuals used #AshesCycle
71 individuals were talking about the cycle challenge on Twitter
146 uses of #AshesCycle hashtag during challenge

120 Liked Facebook page
19,585 engaged with cycle challenge on Facebook
2,361,891 people reached via Facebook page.

6,264,049 – total social media reach (Twitter and Facebook.

James Bedingfield, Senior Investment Director at Investec Wealth and Investment said: “This was a hugely successful cycle challenge – and the results speak for themselves. Dragonfly PR yet again did a fantastic job and made a major contribution to ensuring the Investec Ashes 2015 Cycle Challenge beat its media target and was a resounding success.”

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