After 8 gruelling days, the 2011 Absa Cape Epic came to an end on Sunday, 3 April with Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser of the 36ONE Songo Specialized team being crowned overall winners, after finishing the last 8 days in an overall time of 28:44.44,0.
Limited to just 1200 riders, the organizers of the Absa Cape Epic have been quoted as saying, "Behind the success of every year's Absa Cape Epic is an enormous team of crew, volunteers, sponsors and full time staff ensuring that the event takes place as effortlessly as possible for all the participating Cape Epic enthusiasts".
Part of this crew, was the team from Exp South Africa, who managed the involvement of main sponsor, Absa.
As the lead sponsorship agency to Absa for the past six years, Exp conceptualized a campaign to amplify Absa's association as the naming rights sponsor of the 707km Magical and Untamed Mountain Bike Race. Exp ensured that the Absa brand was prominently leveraged through a series of strategic activations and extensive branding and publicity campaigns, including:
Hospitality for between 50 and 120 people set up at each stage of the race, where regional Absa clients were hosted by Absa Group and Regional Office staff
Absa Riders - 50 Absa teams comprising clients and prominent sportsmen and women
Day Trippers - 30 Absa regional clients were invited to ride certain stages of the Absa Cape Epic on three of the days, departing after the main field of professional riders had gotten the day underway. This allowed them to get a taste of what it was like to ride the gruelling Absa Cape Epic
Implemented an extensive branding activation at each stage of the tour. Two leapfrog teams of 7 crew each, moved from town to town to set up branding at the start of one stage, while another crew moved ahead to the next town set up branding at the finish of the same stage.
Absa Home Loans took advantage of the opportunity to do a creative branding campaign on the riders mobile homes and tents, promoting their Home Loans offering
Absa brand and Absa Asset and Vehicle Finance bought a broadcast package to promote their business offerings during the live broadcast and SuperCycling shows on SuperSport
One of the unique activations at this year's Absa Cape Epic, was the Absa Capital lounge, which provided riders with an exclusive "Riders Only" lounge, where they could escape their gruelling physical routines by kicking back on the comfortable loungers, while enjoying an ice cold drink and tasty low fat ice lollies. In addition, the laptop stations where riders could go online to catch up with their lives and connect with friends and family, was a big hit with the cyclists.
Both Absa and the event organisers were pleased with this new innovation, and received complimentary feedback from the riders throughout the tour.
"All riders were ecstatic to have had this area exclusively for their use which has made the rights holders as well as client very pleased," said Exp Account Manager, Yola Tome.
The Exp team, comprised of Senior Account Manager Sanet Kilian, who was responsible for the overall management of the project and client service, Operations Director Jonathan Argyle, together with Gareth Hogan and Mark Sampson and a crew of 20 operations staff produced and erected Absa branding at the Prologue and in eight towns at each stage of the tour; PR and Publicity was managed by Echbert Boezak who ensured that the Absa specific activities were amplified in the media, and Yola Tome looked after the involvement of Absa business unit, Absa Capital.
After two weeks at Absa Cape Epic, the Exp Operations Crew and PR Manager Echbert Boezak moved directly on to Absa KKNK in Oudtshoorn, for the 8-day arts and culture festival taking place from 2 - 9 April.
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