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Zimowy Narodowy – National Stadium by Winter with IPRA award

Zimowy Narodowy is an exceptional idea for animating the National Stadium. It is the largest winter entertaiment town in Poland, with almost 5,000 sq.m. of ice: 3 ice rinks, the highest ice mound for pontooning downhill in the world, underground skate park, bar, attractions for kids, grown-ups and youth. It is an idea, unique throughout the world, to make use of a football stadium in winter by creating a family winter entertainment center.

Zimowy Narodowy is a project carried out for PL2012.plus, manager of the National Stadium in Warsaw. The Stadium was built for the European Football Championship UEFA EURO 2012. After the event, it was used mainly in summer, as a venue for concerts, sports and commercial events. In winter nothing was happening there, which translated to financial consequences. PL2012.plus was looking for an idea how to attract visitors to the stadium also in winter. The Stadium’s asset was that it enjoys large interest among the Poles, makes them feel proud, is a prestigious place. An idea how to make use of these positive associations also in winter was sought. The search resulted in the Zimowy Narodowy project, or the largest ice rink and winter entertainment town in Poland located at the National Stadium. The project proved successful. Between 8 November 2014 and 1 March 2015, Zimowy Narodowy was visited by over half a million people! There were 1369 publications in the media! Posts on the Zimowy Narodowy fanpage won 10,5 thousand likes. Zimowy Narodowy was a venue of photo sessions, TV recordings, commercial and charity events, a meeting place for the local community and the media. Testa Communications was a contractor for the project, responsible for event organization, PR actions and social media.

The challenge was answering the question what should be done to make people wish to spend time at the National Stadium in winter despite the low temperatures, to make this place a winter entertainment center, gladly visited by inhabitants of Warsaw and visitors from other cities. The broad target group required a project that would be attractive for kids, youth and grown-ups alike. The goal was to attract all these people to the National Stadium in winter, and to trigger positive emotions in them .

The communication goal was to reach the target group with the message that ZIMOWY NARODOWY IS THE CAPITAL’S BEST WINTER ATTRACTION. Through this information, we wanted to encourage the target group to get acquainted with Zimowy Narodowy’s attractions and to make use of them, as well as to trigger in the guests positive emotions and opinions which they would share with others. We also wanted residents of Warsaw to be proud of the project and to identify themselves with it. An equally important goal were high attendance and sales. We wanted the information to reach residents of Warsaw, families with children, youth and adults, but also all Poles. We had created an attractive product, in which everybody could find something for themselves. Zimowy Narodowy was to be a place of meetings and positive emotions rather than a sports arena only. Hence the idea to build a winter entertainment town, ice rinks, ice mound, bar and skate park in the stadium’s underground car park. We wanted individual people from our target group to identify themselves with this place, so the message ZIMOWY NARODOWY – CAPITAL’S BEST WINTER ATTRACTION had a different context for each of the groups. Hence the media mix needed to include both local and national media, information and lifestyle, sports and parenting media, as well as social media. We wanted to raise the interest of Warsaw media, which identify themselves with this place more closely, but also of national information media, which would report on such an unusual initiative. Since the project lasted over 100 days, we knew that we needed many media pretexts. Hence we wanted Zimowy Narodowy to be the site of various activities attractive for both visitors and the media, e.g. discos on skates for the youth, learning to skate by playing, carnival balls for kids and adults, costume balls, hockey lessons, Grandmother and Grandfather days, workshops in the skatepark on rollerskates and skateboards. Besides our permanent attractions, we also wanted the media to make use of Zimowy Narodowy when recording their programmes or materials, as well as to make it a venue for non-typical events. In addition to media relations actions, dispatch of press releases, press conferences, the www.zimowynarodowy.pl website, the National Stadium website and facebook, we also decided to create a ZimowyNarodowy profile on Facebook, which would be an ideal way of reaching young people, and would be fully devoted to Zimowy Narodowy.

The first press communications about the project appeared in August, and each month we divulged new attractions of Zimowy Narodowy. Our aim was to build up suspense. We enlisted the cooperation of media patrons, which publicized our project: Viva and Party magazines, the ZET radio, the largest daily and web service – Gazeta Wyborcza and gazeta.pl. We also acquired the Capital City of Warsaw as cooperation partner. We wanted to show that Zimowy Narodowy is not just an ordinary ice rink, but also a place where something is happening all the time. We looked for media which would support our individual attractions, and hence e.g. the discotheque on ice was run by a presenter of the 4Fun.tv – musical TV for the young. We invited the media to make use of Zimowy Narodowy’s scenery when recording their programmes. We hosted musical radio stations, breakfast and news TVs, and even the Project Runway programme there. Zimowy Narodowy was the venue of: breaking the Guiness world record for the fastest pirouette, a meeting of the few hundred most important Polish bloggers, the Olympic Day propagating winter sports disciplines, charity actions, ice hockey matches with participation of the media and stars. The climax of „Zimowy Narodowy” was the great „Kings On Ice” revue starring the best ice skaters in the world, including Jewgienij Pluszczenko. The show, whose producer was Testa Communications, gathered over 19 thousand people!

Between 8 November 2014 and 1 March 2015, Zimowy Narodowy was visited by over half a million people, which also translated to a financial result! There were 1,369 publications in the media, 824 on the web, 171 in the press, 249 on the radio, and 124 on TV. The publications stressed ingenuity of the project and positive use of the National Stadium in winter. The success was that Warsaw’s inhabitants identified themselves with the project and gladly visited Zimowy Narodowy. Between 8 November and 3 March the fanpage of Zimowy Narodowy acquired 16,641 fans. The profile’s total reach was 483,081, and the average involvement index on the site 47,580. 293 posts were published, and over 10.5 thousand likes appeared under them. Zimowy Narodowy became the main winter entertainment of the capital!
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