When Canada competes against the Americas’ at this summer’s Pan Am and Parapan AM Games, our 977 athletes will proudly wear Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) uniforms.

On April 29, HBC brought media, influencers and Pan Am athletes to the historic Glenn Gould Studio in downtown Toronto for a fashion show of the new line.

The launch gained traction in the Globe and Mail, Huffington Post, on CBC News and City TV (among many others). On social media on the day of the launch over 90 authors shared Tweets using the hashtag #HBPanam, reaching more than 400,000 people and trending on Twitter.  After years of training for the athletes of Team Canada, it only makes sense that the PR teams representing them have honed their skills as well.

HBC and Team Canada had about 20 people available to speak to the media at the event including the presidents of HBC, the Canadian Olympic Committee, and Canadian Paralympic Committee as well as 14 Team Canada Pan AM and Parapan Am athletes. The access to top executives produced more diverse content from the reporters present than otherwise would have been written.

Pan Am Games Launch

Diverse messaging transcends

The PR team also paid special attention to producing materials in French and making bilingual personalities available for reporters from Quebec, Canada’s second largest media market. It’s important for national brands to craft opportunities for both languages within Canada. The Pan Am Games are a multilingual organization and that extends from the players through the marketing message.

Preparation pays off

The PR team invited media and influencers more than a week in advance providing reporters time to fit the brand’s mid-day product launch into their schedules.

Upon arriving HBC provided every member of the media a branded USB drive loaded with high quality images of the athletes wearing the new kit. Providing professional photography on-site, or even in advance, reduces the post-event follow-ups needed by staffers and enables reporters to hit their deadlines efficiently.

Big ideas matter

The launch wasn’t just about increasing retail sales, but also furthering HBC’s fundraising efforts for Canadian athletes. The company has raised nearly $41 million since partnering with Team Canada in 2007, providing the team with better performance equipment and the resources to hire world-class coaches.

Corporate social responsibility programs help brands build valuable partnerships with communities and other organizations. HBC’s investment in Team Canada creates a brand affiliation between purchasing HBC Team Canada clothing and supporting athletes.

You can support Canada’s 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am team by tweeting at @TO2015. 

About James Rubec

James Rubec is a data geek, a former public relations lead and journalist with a love of content and advocacy. Ask him anything @JamesRRubec and be sure to follow @Cision_Canada

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