SITUATION: adidas Outdoor had planned to support its athlete Kevin Jorgeson’s attempt to free climb the most difficult route on the Dawn Wall in Yosemite with Patagonia brand ambassador Tommy Caldwell via social media. It decided to profile the daily challenges and achievements through Facebook posts, live streaming, Twitter posts as well as Instagram.
Jorgenson and Caldwell completed their quest to be the first to free climb the famed Dawn Wall in Yosemite Valley. Then the world changed, not only for adidas and the world of climbing, but also for the athletes. As agency of record for adidas Outdoor, CGPR saw an opportunity to make this attempt bigger than it was.
TACTICS: CGPR knew that this was far more than a climbing attempt and took action to significantly amplify the story. What started out as a simple climbing story evolved into an international reality show that transcended far beyond climbing.
Kevin and Tommy’s attempt captured the hearts of fans around the world wondering if the two climbers would make it to the top. The human determination, complete with pitfalls became an addicting livestream attracting the eyes of adidas executives in Germany, housewives in Ohio, aspiring climbers in the UK in addition to millions of people around the world. CGPR knew it had to hop on this story incredibly fast and recognized the fact that the story would explode before it did.
CGPR flew to Yosemite and began magnifying the daily updates to the world’s media that would soon arrive at the park to cover the story in person.
CGPR managed the media feeding frenzy onsite, dealing with over 20 satellite trucks from outlets around the world, fielded requests from media 24-7 for 4 days straight. CGPR also worked closely with the National Park Service, organized requests and filming for every single U.S. morning show, in addition to networks including ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, NPR and CNN, and the BBC, among others. CGPR worked tirelessly from Los Angeles, Boston, and Yosemite for days. Following the media frenzy in Yosemite, CGPR worked closely with the Ellen Show organizing the athlete appearance. When Arthur Sulzberger, publisher of the New York Times, personally invited the athletes to the New York Times headquarters for a hello and to attend the coveted morning news planning meeting, CGPR escorted Jorgesen and Caldwell to the planning meeting.
RESULTS: CGPR leveraged the story to create global news that took climbing into the mainstream and generated 25 billion impressions and $2 billion in advertising equivalency. Coverage included an interview for the adidas athletes on CBS Morning, CNN, Good Morning America, The Today Show, the Ellen Show, NBC Nightly News, as well as print and digital coverage across national newspapers and magazines from the UK to Australia to Vietnam to Brazil. It was a turning point for the adidas Outdoor brand in the U.S. and globally.