Challenge

When events were cancelled due to COVID-19, the FEI was left with an empty calendar. Athletes were without competition, fans without the sport they love.

A sports agency’s nightmare: no live sport, no prospect of live sport anytime soon, and no budget. We needed to fill the void and bring the community together. Fast.

Aims

1. Unite the equestrian community during COVID-19
2. Fill the void created by cancelled events
3. Reflect FEI’s culture through lifestyle-focused content
4. Attract new sponsors (for FEI and for featured riders)

Solution

Out of the gloom of lockdown, our #ForTheLoveOfEquestrian campaign was born. It started with a question: what do fans want? The answer: inspiration from the past to bring hope for a brighter future.

We needed to find a way of combining the sport with a mainstream culture or cultural icon. Extensive research led us to Kaley Cuoco – star of 8 Simple Rules, The Big Bang Theory and … an equine fanatic!

Kaley immediately agreed to participate in our campaign, and we had our cut-through – for free!

Next, we had to ensure that content on FEI’s own channels wasn’t tailored solely for fans of equestrian sport. That’s why, rather than focus on equestrian competitions and events, we decided to pivot to more lifestyle-focused content: The incredible stories that are born out of the relationship between horse and human.

These stories champion unsung heroes of the sport, from fighting invisible illnesses to battling horrific barn fires. They required nursing horses back from serious injury, being the only girl allowed to compete for a war-torn country, and risking your life for your passion. They show the lengths equestrians will go and aim to inspire horse-lovers worldwide.

This approach guided our targeted social messaging, video output, use of UGC, featured Rider Stories and ongoing content such as quotes, images and editorial.

Content was distributed across owned, earned and paid digital channels, with our data-driven audience analysis providing a secure foundation for the following #ForTheLoveOfEquestrian content:

• 1 X launch film
• 5 X Rider Story films
• 5 X UGC videos
• 10 X FEI.org articles
• 15 X rider quote graphics
• Unlimited, adhoc social reposts and image sharing
• 1 X end of campaign film

While we wanted to engage non-equine fans, we knew we couldn’t isolate our core audience. The reach, shares and support of this audience would be fundamental to our success, and engaging with them was built into our distribution and PR strategies.

We therefore decided to utilise the relationships we have built with National Federations, athletes, equestrian influencers and publishers, as we knew our #ForTheLoveOfEquestrian content would speak to the heart of those who work in and admire the sport.

Within hours of the launch, the video (in platform-specific versions) appeared on network sites across the globe, e.g. the Instagram output debuted on FEI-owned channels and Kaley Cuoco’s personal Instagram page.

As a result, it was quickly picked up and distributed by international news organisations (including China’s largest news outlet, Xinhua News), equestrian platforms (e.g. Equestrian Worldwide and Equnews), National Federations (including Canada, Germany, South Africa and Brazil) and, of course, equestrian fans around the world.

In other words, we ensured successful delivery and distribution by producing lifestyle-focused content that appealed to our core audience, as well to people with no immediate interest in equestrian sport.

Updated 29.10.2020: we’re delighted to announce that #ForTheLoveOfEquestrian is a finalist at The Drum Social Media Awards 2020.

Watch the #ForTheLoveOfEquestrian Case Study Video

Interesting Facts

1. From idea to delivery we developed the campaign in just 3 weeks

2. Hollywood actor Kaley Cuoco (8 Simple Rules, Big Bang Theory) and equine fanatic narrated the launch video

3. The campaign runs for 3 months and includes a UGC competition, inspiring video and editorial rider stories, and behind-the-scenes content

4. We’ve been FEI’s retained social media and editorial agency for over 3 years

Results (so far)

4,000,000

video views

517,000

fan engagements

14,100,000

reach

89%

positive sentiment

19,100,000

Impressions

25x

more shares than the average FEI post

A massive thank you for all the hard work on #ForTheLoveOfEquestrian! It’s been a brilliant team effort with an outstanding video to show for it at the end. I’m really happy with how it all came together.

Alice Permain, Sports Content Manager, Broadcast & Digital

International Equestrian Federation

Every great partnership starts with hello, so get in touch and lets start our journey together!