Bringing international badminton to life in Birmingham



The Challenge

How to make Birmingham embrace the All-England Badminton Championships 2020?

We were briefed by the Championships team to create an exciting consumer facing PR campaign that focused on driving ticket sales in the run up the prestigious tournament, which was due to return to Birmingham in its 110th year.

Initial audience insights revealed that millennials make up badminton’s biggest group of fans. Separately, we determined the importance of focusing on the Midlands region to drive ticket sales.

Our qualitative research with Birmingham-based millennials revealed that 94% had played badminton at some point in their life, although few now regularly play and less than a third had watched the sport live. Furthermore, awareness of the Championships was surprisingly low, given that the tournament has been played in Birmingham since 1994.This set us an immediate challenge – how to drive ticket sales and engage an audience who have long-forgotten the sport, but also an opportunity to reignite their fond memories.

The Solution

Appealing to families and millennials and bringing badminton to life…

We put Birmingham at the heart of all communications to make it the home of badminton, while making the game relevant to Europe’s youngest city and showcasing its sheer athleticism and skill. Our media strategy focussed on a core audience of millennials in the Midlands, while also appealing to a broader audience of families and former/ current badminton players and fans via targeted activations.

We developed a skills challenge event, where members of the public hit targets using a shuttlecock and racquet to score points to win prizes, including VIP tickets to the Championships. British Badminton icon Gail Emms MBE attended the event to give tips to shoppers and influencers who attended, and create content for her own social channels, amplified by All England’s owned platforms, as well as doing a series of media interviews with key regional and national media, creating a strong platform to bring the thrill of the Championships to life. We also developed an innovative partnership with Midlands-based football freestyle influencer EABSkills, to combine both sports in a unique way and reach a broader millennial audience across the Midlands and beyond.

Even better, we teamed up with Legoland Discovery Centre in Birmingham, which created Lego Brickz characters of England doubles players Gabby and Chris Adcock to celebrate the start of the Championships, all supported by ongoing media relations in a bid to drive ticket sales, including securing interviews with players and All England’s CEO and a listings sell-in with national and regional media. 

The Results

In PR terms, we won gold

pieces of earned coverage, including the BBC and Mail Online

people reached, amid a hugely challenging media environment