Marketing Wales to the World – The 2017 UEFA Champions League Final

Two hundred million people. 200,000,000 people!!!!

That’s how many people around the world watched the UEFA Champions League Final that was held in Cardiff.

The eyes of the world were on us, and Visit Wales had a once in a lifetime opportunity to market the city and the country. But how do you plan when you don’t know which teams are in the final? Who are you marketing to?

Our answer was simple; we would prepare marketing material in six languages: Spanish, German, Italian, French, Welsh and English. Brochures were created, articles written and videos produced. As the final came closer and teams dropped out we knew which countries were likely to be in the final.

Ireland, the UK and Germany are all key markets for Visit Wales, so it was no surprise that many in the office became Bayern Munich fans. It was a blow when Munich and Dortmund were knocked out in the quarter finals, leaving just Atlético Madrid v Real Madrid and Juventus v Monaco.

Germans like the countryside, castles and culture of Wales. The Italians and Spanish prefer sandy beaches and sunshine, so now we were marketing to a new audience.

The success of the Wales team in Euro 2016 had lifted the profile of the country, as had Gareth Bale becoming the world’s most expensive footballer when he joined Real Madrid. With both Atletico and Real in the semis, we knew a team from Madrid would be in Cardiff. We teamed up with Visit Britain and Iberia to fly over journalists on familiarisation trips for them to write articles and film TV pieces of the city.

Iberia were about to start direct flights between the Spanish and Welsh capital which gave us an opportunity to market Cardiff as the ideal destination for a weekend break to the Spanish market. We commissioned new photos, videos and articles that were distributed to Spanish media and Real Madrid TV which has an audience of millions.

The social media element saw us create bespoke messages for each team around each game and, along with flying in a vlogger (video blogger) from Madrid, ensured we would receive great exposure on social media channels.

Marketing Wales on the back of the Champions League Final was a challenge but one that we embraced.  Madrid won the match, becoming the first team to defend the title in the Champions League era, but Cardiff and Wales won thousands of new fans.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebNxr-OuY8U

Do you want to hear more about how Visit Wales successfully marketed Cardiff to the world? Come to our Communications Conference on 25th January 2018! Book your place here: https://chcymru.org.uk/en/events/view/2018-communications-conference

Gwydion Griffiths
UEFA Champions League Final Marketing Manager
Visit Wales / Croeso Cymru
@visitwales