Vans, Inc. charged Weber Shandwick (WS) with the task of creating a strategic marketing campaign for the Vans Triple Crown Series, which consists of three events in seven core sports: skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, wakeboarding, BMX, Freestyle Motocross and Supercross. The series is televised by NBC Sports and Fox Sports Net.  In addition to creating a brand image for the entire series, we promoted the individual Vans sponsored athletes and created brand awareness for each  title sponsor including Microsoft Xbox, Mountain Dew, Gillette and Ford Ranger.


The specific challenge for WS was to create unique media campaigns surrounding each of the Triple Crown events.  The campaigns were developed to target mainstream media, without “selling out” in the eyes of the “core” sports publications.  The campaigns ultimately gained media exposure for Vans, Inc., as well as their sponsored athletes, individual Vans Triple Crown events and title sponsors including Mountain Dew, Ford Ranger, Microsoft Xbox and Gillette.

Objectives and Research

Weber Shandwick conducted several planning and research meetings with Vans executives, title sponsors, industry influencers and experts as well as the athletes themselves in order to gain a complete understanding of each sport and begin developing a “personality” for each of the 21 series events.
The program objectives were as follows: 1) generate awareness about the Vans Triple Crown Series on a national and local level; 2) ensure that each title sponsor is strongly connected with each event and has a presence in each event city; 3) increase event attendance and viewership on NBC Sports and Fox Sports Net.

Strategic Approach

The program strategies were as follows: 1) leverage title sponsors’ VTCS involvement; 2) plan and implement a comprehensive media outreach campaign; 3) develop messaging that was tailored to:  mainstream sports and entertainment media and “core” media.

WS positioned Vans as an industry leader and a pioneer in the youth market and utilized the event coverage on NBC Sports and Fox Sports Net coverage to demonstrate that core sports was becoming a viable marketing opportunity for corporations.  

Campaign Execution

· Developed a specific publicity plan for each Vans Triple Crown Series event
· Developed a press kit specifically for mainstream media that provided a “glossary of terms” and backgrounder for each sport
· Staffed and coordinated on-site event logistics 
· Maximized NBC Sports, Fox Sports Net and Vans corporate sponsorship partnerships
· Arranged local and national media interviews for sponsored athletes and title sponsors 
· Created comprehensive biographies for media purposes


Strategically, the marketing communications program enhanced the company’s image as the industry leader among potential sponsors, core sports and mainstream media. WS’s support resulted in hundreds of local and national articles and broadcast placements.  To date, Weber Shandwick has successfully completed 11 of the 21 series events:

Slam City Jam:  Vancouver, Canada, May 4-6 
13,874,359 impressions; ad equivalency not available
Mountain Dew National Championships of Sk8:  Cleveland, Ohio, June 1-3 
9,807,312 impressions; ad equivalency of $284,763

XBOX World Championships:  Oceanside, California Oct. 4-7 
7,646,294 impressions; ad equivalency of $466, 551

Ford Ranger Wakeboarding Pro: Pensacola, Florida, April 27-29  - not available
Mountain Dew WWA Wakeboard National Championships:  Orlando, Florida, Aug. 22-26
294,000 impressions; ad equivalency of  $152,500

Vans WWA Wakeboard World Championships :  Lake Elsinore, California, Sept. 27-30
3,255,604 impressions; ad equivalency of $109,815

Freestyle Motocross
XBOX Pro of Freestyle Motocross:  Las Vegas, Nevada, Aug 10-11
2,382,520 impressions; ad equivalency of  $70, 500
Mountain Dew National Championships of Freestyle Motocross : Tacoma, Washington, Sept. 21-22 834,926 impressions; ad equivalency of $34,920
Mountain Dew National Championships of BMX:  Salt Lake City, Utah , June 15-17
1,377,260 impressions; ad equivalency of  $53,241
Right Guard Extreme Sport World Championships:  Louisville, Kentucky, July 27-29
2,884,814 impressions; ad equivalency of $121,830
Vans BMX Championships Oceanside:  California, Oct. 4-7
7,646,294 impressions; ad equivalency of $466, 551
Total impressions:  50,003,383       Total ad equivalency: $2,511,985.00