In the rings: CTC builds ‘Virtual Stadium’

The Canadian Tourism Commission launches interactive online initiative with the goal of bringing the world together for the Olympics Closing Ceremony.

The goal: to bring the world together in support of athletes for the closing ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. The strategy? Keeping the idea simple, but making the impact huge.

Working with DDB in Toronto and Vancouver, as well as the agency’s Vancouver-based interactive arm, Radar DDB, and Canada Code, the organization responsible for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the Canadian Tourism Commission has launched its ‘Virtual Stadium’ initiative, a website where ‘fans from all over the world can show their support’ for the Games.

The site offers people the opportunity to upload a photo for the chance to see it broadcast during the closing ceremony in a large-scale video installation. How those photos will be displayed during the event is still top-secret, says Cosmo Campbell, CD, DDB Canada, but he promises that it will be impressive.

The CTC’s mandate is to promote Canada to the rest of the world, and the organization wanted to find a way to connect with people internationally and allow everyone, from any country, to feel like they had a part in the Games, says Campbell. So the idea had to transcend borders, language and culture in order to be successful.

‘We just wanted to keep the idea as simple as possible from the outset,’ he explains. ‘We didn’t want it to be too complicated or require too much information. [The 'Virtual Stadium' is] one of those things where it’s almost a universally understood concept of being able to go to a stadium and support your team.’

The stadium is being heavily promoted throughout the Games, by international media and the official Broadcast Media Consortium. A two-and-a-half minute video was showing during the opening ceremonies (inviting people to have an ‘Olympic memory’ sent to their inbox, which was a ‘ticket’ to the Virtual Stadium). In addition, 30-second spots will be shown during the evening ‘victory ceremonies,’ where medals will be handed out, and mentions of the site are being included in CTV broadcasts throughout the Games.

Deals have been made – through the CTC’s partnership with Canada Code – with international rights-holding media who have the opportunity to use the 30-second spots as well to promote it via on-air mentions.

The site is also being promoted with social media – handled by Radar DDB – with pages on Facebook (over 5,000 fans), Twitter (over 400 followers) and YouTube (2,000 channel views). All figures from Feb. 15.

The Virtual Stadium has been built to handle millions of entries and as of Feb. 15, over 3,000 had been uploaded, a number that was changing by the minute.