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Beijing Winter Olympics – how we are helping to keep Team GB Olympians Covid-safe


Following the success of our Summer Olympics Covid-Safe campaign we were asked to adapt the athlete communications campaign for the Winter Olympics in Beijing. This internal communications campaign, delivered by Team GB, is focussed on reducing Covid-risks for these world-class athletes through multiple media channels.

Overview

Athletes are once again facing an Olympic games completely transformed by Covid restrictions. Competitors and the few other foreigners permitted to enter Beijing, including coaches, support staff and journalists, will fly into a fully sealed-off Olympic world - a select few isolated venues and hotels in three locations, connected by their own transport vehicles, travelling in their own lanes.

The Olympics themselves are staffed by Chinese locals who are not allowed to return to their own families without a significant period of quarantine.


But despite all of these measures, the risks of Covid compromising the Olympian's dreams are still there and so Team GB has rightfully installed additional team protocols and asked Turbine Creative to support them in getting this messaging across in an engaging, compelling and memorable manner.


Our work

Back in March we were approached by Team GB to help with their internal communications campaign to keep our elite athletes Covid-safe for the Tokyo Olympics. This followed on from a similar project with the English Institute of Sport which you can see here.

English Institute of Sport - Travel Health for all athletes
English Institute of Sport - Travel Health for all athletes
 

We developed strategic messaging alongside a unique visual identity, which stood apart from the typical corporate Team GB branding and resonated directly with the athletes. The campaign was implemented on-site, via large format print - at Kitting Out and then the Tokyo Olympic Village. In parallel, digital activation featuring a hero video was deployed across multiple channels, targeting athletes at key touch points during their preparation and arrival at the games.

 

The main challenge with highlighting these Covid safety protocols is that, like us, Team GB Olympic athletes have been bombarded with government Covid messaging for the last two years. Subsequently, any athlete-targeted Covid messaging would need to use laser-focussed copy paired with unique, targeted, dynamic imagery if we were to make any impact that would then lead to behavioural change.


Government Covid Messaging

Following our briefing from Team GB Performance Services, we gathered information from a broad range of Team GB experts from the fields of medical, sports performance and behavioural psychology. We also conducted independent research looking into behavioural psychology and how it relates to society's broader response to Covid and how this might help us communicate this important message to the athletes. Key articles were found in the Nature journal as well as Forbes Magazine and research from the University of Kent . These articles provided some interesting insights to support the primary information we received from Team GB specialists.



Team GB staff, who had been part of various Olympic campaigns, provided key insights on the pressures athletes face day-to-day whilst at such high profile events. These insights were incredibly useful in helping us to determine the points where athletes would be at most risk from departing from the agreed Covid-safe protocols (when they are tired, bored or horny was our conclusion!).


Following this research we concentrated our findings down to what attributes created the most persuasive messages. We determined this campaign must:


• Emphasize benefits of this behavioural change to the recipient

• Focus on the message on of protecting others

• Align with the recipients' moral values

• Appeal to social/group consensus or scientific norms

• Highlight the prospect of social group approval


We also included additional messaging relating to 'driving comfort' around this potentially stressful content. This was done through the promotion of:


• Self-efficacy (help people feel confident managing their own risk)

• Routines (help people develop new patterns of behaviour that become second nature).


Once the broader stakeholders approved this messaging rationale we developed the copy and visual styling options.


We made sure we used active and dynamic imagery of Team GB athletes to drive home the sense of team and success. In some of our early development phase we even played with the idea of hand drawn fonts and more fluid illustrations to the campaign apart.

Early Development. Illustrations by Paul Atchison

We recognised the importance of finding visual devices that communicated the message boldly, in a way that was relevant to athletes. Although we had to align the campaign identity with the general Team GB brand guidelines, we created a solution that featured a more arresting magenta to be part of the main Covid-safe campaign colour palette to differentiate it from the rest of the Team GB Olympic village messaging.


The Team GB stakeholders were an absolute pleasure to work with and this project has felt a real honour to be part of. Supporting our elite athletes in staying safe and healthy at the Olympics through the power of visual communication is a brief that builds its own inherent motivation!


 

“We set out to create a strong and impactful Covid-safe campaign to proactively ‘nudge’ a desirable behavioural outcome for the 1000-strong delegation of Team GB athletes and staff in Tokyo. Turbine Creative were incredibly responsive and agile in their approach to our brief, and the resulting print and digital campaign was one of the main pillars in our success to mitigate against any positive Covid-19 cases within the Team GB delegation at The Olympic Games” Head of Performance Services, Covid Liaison Officer, Team GB – Beijing 2022

 

Following the success of the Tokyo Olympics where no cases of Covid were encountered the Independent called it 'The Miracle of Tokyo'! We're hoping for the exact same positive outcome of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.


Through the onsite branding within the Olympic Village, teamed with the video and digital campaign assets, we have been proud to once again drive home this message of Covid safety and support for our incredible Team GB athletes and coaches this Winter Olympics.




This project has been a real joy and we're now enjoying watching the Winter Olympics along with the rest of the country. It's been made even more spectacular having been given the extra insight into the amazing coaches, sports psychologists, medical professionals, performance managers and Covid-safe team who all contribute towards Team GB's success.



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