HTC's Sponsorship Of An Indoor Pop Up Skate Park At The Old Selfridges Hotel - winner of the Entertainment & Event Sponsorship Category In 2015

ENTERED BY: Fuse Sport + Entertainment

AGENCIES INVOLVED:  Fuse Sport + Entertainment, M2M, Factory Media, Prime and Fire, Hope and Glory

 

MISSION STATEMENT

To support the launch of the new HTC One M8 smartphone, HTC sponsored a pop up indoor skate park in the Old Selfridges Hotel, as a part  of the department store’s ‘Board Game’s promotional campaign.  The sponsorship helped HTC reach their target audience of ‘changemakers’, providing an authentic platform via which to showcase the product’s key selling points. The pop-up indoor skate park, the UK’s largest and the first ever in London’s iconic West End, was open for a month and saw almost 15K skateboarders come through its doors as well as receiving much media attention, delivering a strong ROI for HTC.

CAMPAIGN BACKGROUND

It is well documented that smartphones are the device that 16-34’s say they would miss most. So how come, when picking out your new favourite device at mobile phone upgrade time, you can’t really put it through its paces? It’s tethered to the wall of the store so you can’t see how it feels in your hand. Sure, they say the camera is great at capturing action shots and cool photos, but you only get to try it out on the granny shuffling past the shop. In the end you just call your mate who says go with an iPhone…

This was the challenge for the new HTC One M8 smartphone handset. HTC’s designers had spent years making the new handset beautiful both inside and out but most retail experiences sold it short. We had to create a premium and authentic product experience that was befitting of the hottest smartphone of 2014.

HTC’s target audience are described as ‘Change makers’ – no one age group, gender or demographic but instead a state of mind.  Those who seek out new experiences and get actively involved, sharing their experiences and activity as social currency to stand out from the crowd.  They are all about finding the roads less travelled, and being unafraid to not follow the crowd in their choices. 

Selfridges were identified as a partner due to their spring promotional campaign 'Board Games' (a celebration of the worlds of surf and skate). The department store was planning to create a pop-up indoor skate park in the Old Selfridges Hotel. HTC became the primary and sole sponsor of the project, and together, we worked with Selfridges to develop and refine the unique experience for skateboarders to enjoy. The pop-up skatepark became the HTC One Skatepark.

OBJECTIVES

The key objective of the HTC One Skatepark was to help launch the HTC One (M8) smartphone in the UK.

The campaign was to be used as a vehicle to target HTC’s audience of ‘changemakers’, whom we knew from our research, had a distinct love for skateboard culture, as well as capturing the interests of the wider general public through the innovative and original nature of the project.

Achieving distinct media coverage was also key, giving the brand coverage in areas not normally associated with a mobile / technology brand, notably the skate and fashion industries.

EXECUTION AND EXPLOITATION

 

We utilised several different platforms and mediums to help promote the skatepark and raise awareness.  HTC wrapped every Selfridges window at the start of the month as a teaser to launch, had two dedicated branded window displays, and a pop-up experiential area within the store and in Selfridges regional stores across the UK, as well as digital assets across selfridges.com as well as social media support, all promoting the sponsorship of the skatepark.

Working alongside specialist action sports agency Prime & Fire we recruited London-based skateboaders to replicate the most iconic London skate spots which in recent years had been closed down by local councils. Then using skateboard bibles Kingpin and Sidewalk and action network mpora, we released teaser videos of London based pro-skater Daryl Dominguez navigating his way around the city to a secret new skate park.

The skatepark launched with an exclusive party onsite in the skatepark. Yoyo DJs Seb Chew and Leo Greenslade played to 350+ guests from across London including key press and influencers, high profile brand guests and a number of VIPs / celebs. 

The skatepark was open for four weeks from 27th March, available free of charge seven days a week to the general public and catering for all abilities with lessons available at the weekends. Created by a team of 11 specialists, who took more than 270 hours to make components in a workshop and a further 1,320 hours to build on-site, using 53,000 screw fixings, 731 sheets of plywood and 3,935 metres of 4x2 timber. It featured two distinctive skate areas, plus a spectator area.  The outer area was inspired by the streets of London, including the Big Ben road gap and Moorgate handrail with the design of an inner section being a nod to the Selfridges shop floor with obstacles such as a Vans shoeboxes and a Selfridge’s shopping bag.  Skaters were able to capture and share their thrills and spills on a host of HTC One M8 smartphone handsets onsite.  Measuring more than 1,700sqm, it was the UK’s largest indoor park and the first ever in London’s iconic West End.

During the live month of activity the skatepark played host to a number of brands and media owners putting on exclusive events including Vans, Cooler Girls and Slam City Skates.  A radio partnership with Capital FM was also used to increase awareness of the activity.  These partnerships further increased the reach of the activity, raised awareness and pulled in consumers.

 

OUTCOME AND EVALUTION 

14,500 skaters signed in to use the skate park over the four weeks helping to drive huge levels of social sharing, with 15.4 million impacts on Twitter and 4,510 videos from the park being uploaded to YouTube.

We successfully created a stir in the press, with 73 press articles being written about the park with much of the coverage being seen in publications outside of HTC’s normal environments with the activity covered in the likes of Vogue, Condé Nast Traveller and Time Out.

The campaign delivered over £3.5M in media value across earned social, PR and sales.

One of the more intangible results achieved was the incredibly positive sentiment from all consumers who experienced the activity, especially from the core skaters who experienced the skatepark first hand.  The skate community is notoriously a sceptical group in terms of corporate integration but despite that, the feedback from skaters, even up to eight months later was spectacular – “such a great idea”, “wish it could have stayed up permanently”.

Source: Selfridges, HTC

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