Grand Prix
Product/ServiceSPORTS GEAR
Category C01. Brave Brands
Idea Creation BBDO BELGIUM Brussels, BELGIUM
Media Placement BBDO BELGIUM Brussels, BELGIUM
Media Placement 2 SEMETIS Brussels, BELGIUM
Media Placement 3 Decathlon Brussels, BELGIUM
Production FLEDGE Brussels, BELGIUM
Production 2 ERACINGTV Brussels, BELGIUM
Name Company Position
Frederik Clarysse BBDO Belgium Creative
Tom Jacobs BBDO Belgium Creative
Debby De Ridder BBDO Belgium Copywriter
Loes Fierens BBDO Belgium Agency Producer
Bram De Vidts BBDO Belgium Account Director
Evelyn Savels BBDO Belgium Account Manager
Alexander Neesen BBDO Belgium Account Manager
Wim Esteban De dobbeleer freelance Designer
Elena Haniotakis BBDO Belgium Designer
Kim Leunen BBDO Belgium Strategist
Anton Ceuppens BBDO Belgium Editor
Mathieu Schots BBDO Belgium Sound Engineer
Thomas Houthave Klankwerk Sound Engineer
Jasper Vanhauwaert BBDO Belgium Editor
Eva De Gendt BBDO Belgium Chief Commercial Officer
Patricia Van De Kerckhove BBDO Belgium Head of Production
Jan Dejonghe BBDO Belgium Creative Director
Thomas Lejeune Debarre Decathlon Belgium National Marketing & Communication Director
Michael D'hooge Decathlon Belgium Content Leader
Julie Nevejan Decathlon Belgium Leader national campaigns
Wing Tji Liu Decathlon Belgium Social Media Manager
Heather Loontjens De Rode Antraciet Sports Deputy
Pieter Van Caeneghem Oudenaarde Prison Prison Director
Kathleen Van De Vijver Federal Justice dept Spokeswoman
Andrew Vassallo Walkie Talkie PR expert
Jana Snoeck Walkie Talkie PR Account Manager
Maureen Richard Walkie Talkie PR Account Manager
Lieven Anthonise eracingtv Director
Witten Anthonise eracingtv Director
Sidney Van Wichelen Fledgetv Director
Leon Van Bon Zwift Representative The Netherlands & Belgium
Wouter Has BBDO Belgium Digital Project Director

Why is this work relevant for Creative Strategy?

Decathlon’s purpose is to make sport accessible to all. They wanted to act concretely to show that the emotions of sport are indeed accessible even to people who wouldn’t dare to dream about it. So they made the brave choice to go where no brand dares to go: prison. They founded the first eCycling team for prisoners, an ongoing initiative that allows prisoners to ride online with people from the outside world on the Zwift platform. Reconnected with society from behind bars.


Sport has many benefits. Not only on a health level, but also on an emotional and mental level. Decathlon’s purpose is to make sport and its benefits accessible to all. Even when it seems impossible. During the lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, we all felt a bit like prisoners. In the spring of 2021, Decathlon wanted to make “freedom” its central theme. We wanted an activation that demonstrated how sport can liberate people and fits in the company’s vision of making sport accessible.

Interpretation (30% of vote)

Spring is a period that is commercially important for Decathlon. It is also the start of the cycling season in Belgium, so a link with cycling seemed logical. Next to sales, however, they also needed to boost their image in order to be top of mind in this period. So the messaging of the campaign needed to underline that sports has a huge impact on people, and even society. We targeted regular sporters. They have heard the story about the power of sport and how it changes lives many times before. We felt a compelling need to actually change lives through sport. To make sport accessible in the most impossible environment, with a maximum societal impact.

Insight / Breakthrough Thinking (30% of vote)

In recent years, virtual sports, particularly cycling has made a spectacular development. Zwift’s virtual platform has changed indoor cycling completely, allowing people from all across the globe to ride together. We wanted to make this sport accessible in the toughest possible environment: prison. An environment where it’s often impossible to sport. And to go online is even unthinkable. We actually changed lives instead of talking about changing lives. And then told this unique story via online videos, a live race and a documentary podcast.

Creative Idea (20% of vote)

In a maximum security prison in Oudenaarde, Belgium, we launched the first eCycling team for prisoners. Decathlon provided them with clothes and equipment (bikes, trainers, …) to cycle on Zwift, a virtual world where 3 million cyclists race and ride together. Enabling them to ride with people from the outside world for the first time. As anonymous athletes instead of being labeled a prisoner or outcast. The project is ongoing, permanently reconnecting them with society from behind bars. In a podcast, we documented how riding online with others changed their life. In an epic race streamed live on Facebook by Decathlon, they even competed with a team of judges, lawyers, prison guards and the Minister of Justice.

Outcome / Results (20% of vote)

The Breakaway project showed the real power of a virtual sport. It was discussed by all mainstream media in Belgium, and the international cycling press. In combination with the social reach by Decathlon, this reached over 15 million people and earned around 1.3 million in free media attention. In may, John McAvoy, ex-bankrobber and now an acclaimed pro triathlete, organized an official group ride on Zwift, creating a social event with hundreds of cyclists riding with the prisoners. After racing them live on Facebook on September 14, the Minister of Justice decided to expand the Breakaway project to all Belgian prisons. In collaboration with Decathlon, all prisons will be equipped with eCycling in the coming years.