EXP South Africa is a specialist Experiential Marketing agency.
Offering four key services namely Sponsorship Marketing, Brand Activation, Public Relation and Pan-African Consulting. We are passionate about advising the best possible communication insight, strategy and creative to our clients (think), developing measurable brand campaigns (create) and delivering memorable consumer experiences (do).

The Absa Cape Epic in Review

EXP South Africa delivered yet another successful sponsorship activation on behalf of Absa- the Absa Cape Epic. The project involved a number of key activities such as supplier and stakeholder management, Absa business unit liaison, relationship management with event right’s holders, client service, branding and operations, and PR and media management.
The planning phase began in July 2011 and EXP were involved in all aspects of the preparation for the event- from strategic and creative inputs right through to the final implementation at the race.

The Absa Cape Epic is regarded as the world’s premier mountain bike stage race. The race takes place annually in the Western Cape and the route is redesigned each year. The 8-day race includes a prologue time trial and covers an average of 700-800kms riding and 16 000 m of uphill mountain- bike climbing.

A limited number of 1200 riders participate each year in teams of two; the main concept of this race which makes it unique is the partnership between two riders which must be maintained in order to finish the race. This year, riders from 46 countries participated in the event.
The team managed the main Absa hospitality tent and winner’s lounge at the rider village of each stage of the 8 day mountain bike race. Our professional ops team ensured that there was a supply of running water, Absa branded towels, and cold drinks for the top teams to enjoy each day as they prepared for the podium handovers at each stage.

The operations team also ensured that all Absa branding was correctly displayed and installed at each venue.
The project team managed communication between the various business units (Retail and Business Bank, Private Bank, Absa Capital) and their (number?) “day-trippers” and 50 “access to entry” riders. This initiative includes selected Absa staff and clients, and gives the nominated riders a guaranteed entry into the Absa Cape Epic and the opportunity of a lifetime to experience the Magical and Untamed Mountain Bike Race. Their supporters are then hosted in the Absa hospitality tent along each stage which gives them direct access to the finish and start line in a comfortable environment. 

The project manager also served as liaison between all parties involved, most importantly with the event’s rights holders and regional Absa staff.

Another exciting element of the race was the V&A Waterfront activation- the Absa Relay Spinathon, which took place on the Amphitheatre stage on Saturday, 24th March 2012, the day before the Prologue stage of the race. Team Absa raced against other celebrities, ex-sportsmen, and Absa Cape Epic mountain bike riders in a relay format on spinning bikes in a bid to raise money for their Absa Cape Epic nominated charities. MC’d by Paul Kay and Liezel van der Westhuizen, the activation was a great success, with lots of crowd engagement and a total of R 14,000.00 raised for charity.

The PR team managed Absa’s representation at press events such as the Route Launch in October 2011 and the official Event Launch in February 2012, and secured interviews for key representatives such as Steward Masela, Absa Sponsorship Manager, and Lynn Naude, Absa General Manager Sponsorships and Events.  

The PR elements primarily focused on promoting Absa’s sponsorship of this unique sporting event as well as profiling Team Absa, a group of 10 personalities who participate in the Absa Cape Epic on behalf of charity. This year’s team included media personalities Max Gebhardt (Deputy Editor Financial Mail) and Kevin McCallum (Chief sports writer The Star), celebrities Vanessa Haywood and Nico Panagio, sports legends Elana Meyer and Joel Stransky, Absa employee Jack Stroucken and retired Absa employee Ernst Viljoen (team manager), and other mountain bike enthusiasts such as Sean Kristafor and Clayton Duckworth. The profiling of the team included media releases, media interviews, and social media communication platforms.

In addition to media liaison, the PR plan included various internal communications initiatives and profiling the Absa Cape Epic and Team Absa through Absa’s various channels such as QTV, Abacus Magazine etc.

Furthermore, Team Absa visited the local Absa branch at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town to sign autographs and meet with the staff and clients in the branch at the time.

The project and operations team also activated and managed the Absa Capital Lounge, a relaxed lounge area away from the hive of activity at the race finish line where all riders are allowed exclusive access. The amenities in the Absa Capital lounge included comfortable furniture, free drinks, chiropractic services, massage services, internet and laptop access, and popular sports magazines and daily newspapers available to the riders to read. The project management of this activation also involved liaising with various suppliers and co-sponsors such as Telkom Business, who provided the laptop stations and internet access infrastructure. 

The event incorporated Absa business unit leveraging in the form of Absa Home Loans who branded the riders’ mobile homes with rear window decals.