Bronze Eurobest Award

Case Film

Presentation Image

Product/ServiceSPORTS GEAR
Category A03. Travel, Leisure, Retail, Restaurants & Fast Food Chains
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 PR?

The campaign was led by a PR stunt in march 21: launching the very first eCycling team for prisoners. An initiative where prisoners are enabled to cycle online with people from the outside on Zwift. Instead of doing an interview in prison, journalists interviewed the prisoners during a ride on Zwift. In September 21, we created a second PR moment. The Breakaway team challenged a team of lawyers, judges and the Minister of Justice for a race: The Breakaway vs. Team Justice. It was streamed live on Decathlon’s facebook channel.


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.

Describe the 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. Even journalists came to ride along instead of doing a typical interview in a meeting room. 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.

Describe the PR strategy (30% of vote)

We wanted regular sporters to have an emotional connection with the Decathlon brand. Instead of telling people sport changes lives, we actually changed the life of six people through sport. And told the world about it. In Oudenaarde, the heart of international cycling, we used the Zwift platform, allowing six prisoners to ride online with other cyclists for the very first time. In an environment that only judged them on their performance on the bike, not on their past. To show the outside world how sport changes lives, we created multiple pr moments. In march: we launched the team with an emotional launch film where the prisoners tell about their connection to cycling. In September, we broadcast their ultimate race live on Facebook. Between march and september let them tell their side of the story in a podcast, showing how the project changed their lives.

Describe the PR execution (20% of vote)

Decathlon provided the equipment needed to ride on Zwift. Special permission was given by the Federal department of Justice and Oudenaarde prison, to allow the prisoners to go online for the first time in history. There were multiple pr moments. The Breakaway was launched on march 31, 2021 with an emotional launch film and press release. From that moment, the prisoners started training and participating in races and rides. We even invited a journalists to ride along instead of doing typical interviews, creating more attention. In a second phase the team challenged a team of lawyers, prison guards, judges and the Minister of Justice for a race on September 14, 2021 Between march and september, a podcast documented how the project changed their lives. The race was streamed live on Decathlon’s Facebook channel in a broadcast with commentary by the country's most famous cycling commentator, Renaat Schotte & Cyril Saugrain.

List the results (30% 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.