2015 Asia-Pacific Gold Winner - Hong Kong Jockey Club
Company: Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong
Category:Communications/PR - Campaign: Marketing - Reputation/Brand Management
Entry Title: The Hong Kong Jockey Club Puts Best Foot Forward for Youth Development
Despite being the most popular participant sport in Hong Kong, football has never been embraced as a vehicle of youth development or a platform of civic pride on the international stage. Driven by a commitment to community betterment, the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC), Hong Kong’s largest community benefactor, has made substantial investments starting in 2011 to drive youth development through football, highlighted by engaging the Manchester United Soccer School (MUSS) in 2012 to offer free training to elite youth footballers. Buoyed by the success of the partnership, HKJC launched in late 2013 a 5-month “Jockey Club School Football Development Scheme” to extend MUSS training to the broader population of local school coaches and students.
To drive participation in the Scheme and raise awareness of the power of football for youth development, HKJC created a campaign to engage target participants and the broader community through owned and earned media across multiple channels, highlighting football as a source of personal inspiration and aspiration. The campaign ultimately seeks to position HKJC as the driving force of local youth development through football.
To excite today’s generation of youngsters for whom world-class football seems attainable only in the virtual world of video games, HKJC’s overall campaign strategy was to “connect with real content”, creating inspiring experiences and stories about real people – from legendary international football stars to emerging local talent.
The communication strategy would focus on presenting stories around the message of “put our best foot forward” through diverse channels, including local schools, traditional mass media, social media and online portals, to reach the targeted audience, inciting them to pursue excellence on the football pitch and in their personal development.
- Announced launch of the new football development scheme and deliver the “Best Foot Forward” message by unveiling the campaign’s signature foot-forward pose
Personal encounters with star players
- Arranged for former Manchester United star players to visit local schools to interact with students and draw media attention
Outreach with owned and earned content
- Engage football watching families by partnering with TV network with exclusive international football broadcast rights to present a series of 3-minute and 15-minute segments, with students sharing their learnings in football techniques and life skills
- Maximise awareness by presenting mini-segments on public buses, TV network’s website and mobile app, and the Scheme’s YouTube channel
- Energise the Scheme’s website with extensive original video content, including interviews with visiting Manchester United star players and more
- Expand the appeal of the Scheme by partnering with key print media to tell the story from diverse perspectives, including parent-child bonding, teacher-student relationship, cross-cultural friendship, etc.
- Sustain interest by publishing frequent updates on Facebook with the latest match experiences of young footballers
- The number of applicants reached 6 times the number of available spaces, making the Scheme an overwhelming success and paving the way for the Scheme to be offered for a second year in 2015
- Owned content reached an audience of 2.5 million
- Extensive media coverage of the campaign launch and subsequent visits by former Manchester United star players, reaching 6.9 million viewers (the majority of local population) through TV and 3.9 million readers through print
- The fan base of HKJC’s football development Facebook page recorded over 40% increase within 9 months and over 50% increase by early 2015
HKJC won recognition as a driving force of youth football from the government and the education and sports sectors. In the words of the Secretary of Home Affairs of the Hong Kong Government: “I believe HKJC’s programme not only offers benefits on physical development but also on building a positive mentality and values among our youth.”