Volvo Ocean Race 2018 PR and Social Media campaign.

// Volvo Ocean Race

The brief

The brief was to deliver a full PR and Social Media campaign on behalf of Cardiff Council and the Welsh Government for the Volvo Ocean Race, the world’s toughest and most prestigious sailing event. 

The budget for all PR and Social Media activities was £17,000, over a six month period in the build up to and during the event.

Three large sailing yachts

Key objectives

  • Attract at least 130K visitors to the Cardiff Stopover site, located at Cardiff Bay
  • Boost social engagement through the Visit Cardiff social media channels
  • Help drive tourism to the area
  • Engage with #PassonPlastic, an environmental movement fronted by Volvo Ocean Race and Sky Ocean Rescue


  • Light-hearted, creative social media content which included quirky nautical facts and the extensive use of review bloggers. Influencers included Volvo Ocean Race, Dee Caffari, Akzonobel, World Sailing, Sky Ocean Rescue, with Hong Kong, Cape Town, Melbourne and other host cites, and fan groups across the world, engaging with our content
  • A mini digital campaign on the Newport (US) – Cardiff route, with a quirky film commissioned for Goldie Looking Chain
  • Frequent engagement with the #PassonPlastic movement - the add-on campaign to reach a whole new audience other than sport, securing over £300,000 AVE on this alone
  • A focus on the Welsh sailor Bleddyn Mon, to successfully engender a patriotic interest in the Race amongst a Welsh audience, including numerous broadcast media interviews, and a one off S4C special TV programme 
  • Use the race to highlight Cardiff’s impressive global sporting event achievements, and Visit Wales' Year of the Sea campaign 
  • Extensive global reach with national and international broadcasters including Sky News; Sky Sports News; BBC network (BBC Breakfast, BBC News and BBC Radio); ITV Wales; S4C, and over 450 digital channels
  • Collaborated with Wales Wildlife on 7D VR launch, and the National Marine Aquarium on World Ocean Day
A sailor on a boat branded with 'Volvo Ocean Race'
  • Visitor numbers to the race village exceeded expectations with a final count of 180K, smashing the target of 130,000. Market research conducted by Cardiff University on site revealed that some 20% of visitors were from outside south Wales.
  • There was a 236% increase of engagement to the @VisitCardiff social accounts across the 15 day stopover period, with an estimated 650,000 accounts engaging, compared to a baseline of 270,000
  • The First Minister has gone on record as saying that the event expected to produce a return on investment of some 4:1 - delivering £12m to the Welsh economy, in addition to the indirect benefits of global media interest.
3d rendered map of the race village site