Read our new manifesto
22 - 26 March

Festival for a rapidly changing world

Topics include: Direct to consumer / E-commerce / Data & privacy / Martech

ITV & The National Lottery: 'I am Team GB', raising awareness for personal health and athlete funding

ITV & The National Lottery: 'I am Team GB', raising awareness for personal health and athlete funding

ITV and The National Lottery, with British Olympic Association and UK Sport, won an award for 'Best Integration Strategy of the Year' at The Drum Marketing Awards 2017. Here they explain the achievements and challenges they faced to execute this campaign.

Executive Summary

Britain has a problem. Despite living in an Olympic-mad sporting powerhouse, almost half of us fail to meet medical guidelines on physical activity. Sedentary lifestyles are literally killing us.

Every few years The Olympics fires up the Nation’s enthusiasm for sport- but this enthusiasm doesn’t convert into action. Even after a hugely successful London 2012, with massive infrastructure investment, Britons watched sport, but didn’t take part. In 2016, Rio’s Olympics promised yet more nationwide enthusiasm for sport and yet another missed opportunity to get Britain moving. Unless something different was done.


In February 2016, ITV, The National Lottery (TNL), British Olympic Association (BOA) and UK Sport, came together to tackle this challenge. They are four very different organisations, with different goals and objectives, but they had a shared interest in using The Olympics to take on Britain’s inactivity. And they wanted to do this with a single campaign.

Marketing needed to move people from spectating to participating: From their individual objectives, the partners set out to create an integrated campaign capable of accomplishing two distinct tasks:

  • To get Britons off the sofa and out exercising.
  • To encourage people to play The National Lottery to ensure that Britain’s athletes keep getting the funding they need.

But this wasn’t going to be easy: Whether it’s exercising or playing the lottery, for too many people, participating just didn’t seem worth it.

  • As the third most slothful population in Europe, we’ve plenty of reasons not to exercise. They range from practical “I’m too busy”; “I don’t have the money”; to emotional “I’m too old”; “too out of shape”; “too embarrassed”. For most, the ‘wins’ of fitness or weight-loss are not quick enough.
  • Playing the lottery doesn’t often result in life-changing millions – and people aren’t aware of the wider benefits their ticket buys.

Our strategy in three words: watch, identify, nudge. To move people from watching wins, to feeling like a winner too, and then ‘nudging’ them to start acting like one of the victorious team.

We knew that Britain would be gripped by Olympic fever, and that millions would watch the action on TV. Research had told us that when viewers really get into sport they identify with their sporting heroes, really feeling like part of the team. But we had learned from multiple previous Olympics that watching and feeling rarely translate into increased mass participation – so we set out to create a compelling ‘nudge’ element.

Watching and identifying. We used communications to build emotion, to make everyone feel part of the winning Team GB. Our key image across every touchpoint presented an ordinary Briton standing alongside a Team GB athlete. We encouraged talent, athletes and ordinary people to adopt our line and rallying cry “I Am Team GB”, whether playing the lottery or doing sport. This line bound all strands of the campaign together.

The nudge to action. We created unprecedented nationwide experiences and an enormous integrated marketing effort to activate the emotion. The Nation’s Biggest Ever Sports Day allowed everyone to feel comfortable, whatever their shape or size, sampling sports alongside both super- fit elite athletes and less-than-fit celebrities. We also turned off the telly: on Sports Day we actually turned off the entire ITV network for a whole hour, to give an extra nudge.

We signed up thousands of grassroots clubs across the UK to put on IAmTeamGB events, and create 'the nation's biggest ever sports day'. Partners ranged from local sports clubs, scout groups, and OAP care homes, to National Governing Bodies and organisations like Parkrun and British Military Fitness.

The integrated communications campaign across channels fired up enthusiasm and recruitment. We focused on driving reach and generating conversation: TV advertising/editorial, OOH, radio, social, talent/influencers and PR plus partners’ own channels, from onscreen to instore to CRM.

A geo-targeted digital poster campaign, supported by radio, directed people to their nearest flagship event.

PR also helped trigger participation. Team GB’s wins and ITV’s switch-off stunt generated conversation. The campaign resulted in over 2200 features in TV, national, online and regional press. IAmTeamGB was front-page news in The Telegraph, double-page in The Sun, Radio 5’s story of the week and top of the BBC news online on the day.

Hundreds of famous names tweeted support, including Mo Farah, Andy Murray, Davina McCall, astronaut Tim Peake, Sadiq Khan and No. 10.

Every time #iamteamgb was used, people received a personalized message from an Olympian thanking them for their support and pointing to the event.


IAmTeamBG got more people participating in sports in one day than any previous campaign. Ever.

Nearly 1 million people had a go at everything from aerobics to yoga.

  • 52% of participants described themselves as ‘non-sporty’.
  • To put the results in context, Sports Relief got 70,000 to 2016’s Sunday Funday, while the previous world record-holder, Race for Life, attracted 125,000 participants.
  • 85% said they’d participate again
  • 4.1 million say the campaign inspired them to be more active (more than This Girl Can campaign)
  • Two months on, 56% of participants say they’re still doing more exercise
  • 13% of participants have since joined a sports club.

Awareness of Team GB funding increased from 28% to 63% nationally, and 74% among those aware of Sports Day.

It was TNL’s most effective campaign for driving awareness of their elite sport funding more so than their London 2012 campaign.

One powerful idea and line, IamTeamGB, was executed seamlessly across countless channels. Each of the four partners exceeded their goals. And it inspired the biggest mass participation in sport in UK history.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis