Short List
Product/ServiceHET NIEUWBLAD
Category B06. Use of Events / Stunts
Idea Creation LDV UNITED Antwerp, BELGIUM
Name Company Position
Dries De Bruyn LDV United Creative Director
Dennis Vandewalle LDV United Creative Director
Dries De Wilde LDV Copywriter
Willem De Wachter LDV United Art Director

Why is this work relevant for Media?

In a normal year, the Tour of Flanders the most prestigious and most-watched race in the nation, is the main topic for weeks for readers of Het Nieuwsblad. But all major sports events were cancelled due to COVID-19. As the cycling champions were forced to stay home, the health workers were doing heroic work. Het Nieuwsblad decided to use the empty course of the race as a tribute to the Belgian health workers. By painting hundreds of names of healthcare workers on the roads of the race, we turned the Flemish hills into a monumental tribute.


Situation:Het Nieuwsblad is Belgium’s leading newspaper for editorial cycling content. Our cycling content tagline is “We own cycling”. Every year, the road cycling season starts end of February with the opening race, De Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, a road race that even carries the brand’s name. Brief: After the opening race, Het Nieuwsblad planned a communication campaign to highlight their cycling involvement. But due to Covid19, all sports event in Belgium were cancelled as of beginning of March. So we needed to find a way to talk about cycling, without having any actual race. And our message needed to be aligned with the Covid19 situation. Objectives: Claim that Het Nieuwsblad is still the nr 1 newspaper for cycling news and spread a message of hope & support in the difficult Covid19 times.

Describe the creative idea / insights (30% of vote)

Healthcare workers always remain anonymous and invisible. Until the moment of the Tour of Flanders was canceled Having no cycling to report. Het Nieuwsblad grabbed this opportunity to pay tribute to the nation's healthcare workers in an unexpected way. On the most iconic roads of the Tour of Flanders, we painted the names of hundreds of anonymous health workers with the same last name as cyclists. This way, we turned Flanders' hills into monuments to honor healthcare workers nationwide. We needed a message of hope & support. A message of understanding but also with a big thumbs up to everybody who was contributing to help defeat the virus. But due to Covid19, the race day was cancelled. No riders, no fans, no sound, nothing. We wanted to use this momentum to spread our message.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

Our usual target group is everybody with a big heart for cycling. But for this campaign, we needed to spread the word to the whole of Flanders. As a newspaper, we have our owned media being full page ads and our social media channels. But we needed TVC to air the message in the most impactful way. It’s a live momentum for our message so TVC is the most relevant choice. We developed a communication recovery plan for our clients during Covid19: how to communicate in times of holistic stress. For Het Nieuwsblad, it was clear that we needed to tell a story without any opportunistic feel. We’re the leading newspaper for cycling, but we couldn’t tell it. We needed to show it. We needed to show we understand the situation that we all were living in.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

Implementation: The Cobblestone Tribute was aired on national tv on the exact moment the race was supposed to take place. At the same time, the most famous pro riders started sharing the film online. Fans and journalists followed, by the end of the day the Cobblestone was picked up by all other newspapers, making the story spread even further. Media channels & integration: Several TV channels in Belgium from DPG media and SBS. Several media platforms picked up the news, and it was also widely spread over social media. Nearly all Belgian newspapers shared the story. Timeline: Launch on 5 April 2020, aired from 5 until 8 of April. Scale : 7 out of 10 Belgians were reached

List the results (30% of vote)

Pro riders, cycling teams and fans were touched and shared this story of hope and solidarity. Other big news media followed and spread the message of the Cobblestone Tribute. The story was the talk of the weekend and raised the appreciation for all healthcare workers in Belgium. And there was Media Peace for One Day: For the first time in years, for one day, the war between the Belgian media brands was put on hold. All newspaper competitor news outlets covered the campaign and shared the video across all their digital platforms. This increased the reach of the 70% of the Belgians. This campaign was used by ACC (association of communication companies in belgium) as a benchmark case for communication in crisis times. In one weekend, the Cobblestone Tribute counted over 15 million impressions, reached 7 out of 10 Belgians and earned 4 million euros of media value.