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  • Pedal-Powered Promotion: Scotland's Triumph in Marketing the UCI World Championships


    Pedal-Powered Promotion: Scotland's Triumph in Marketing the UCI World Championships

    Held during the first two weeks of August, the UCI World Championships came to Glasgow and surrounding locations for an adrenaline-packed festival of two-wheeled action. From downhill mountain biking to paracycling road racing, hundreds of participants and thousands of spectators were to see Scotland for the first time.

    Promoting an event of epic proportions like this was no small feat. From combining 13 pre-existing UCI World Championships into one mega-event to engaging new and global audiences, the challenges were aplenty. However, as Rob Arbutnot, Head of Marketing for the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships explains, by capturing the unique spirit of Scotland, creating engaging content and capitalising on native Scottish fauna, anything is possible.

    “Introducing a brand-new event to the world like the UCI Cycling World Championships required convincing not only cycling enthusiasts, but enticing newcomers to take notice too. To achieve this, sustained and clever marketing was employed where storytelling and content creation played a pivotal role. The goal was to showcase the Championships as more than just a bike race – they were a grand spectacle on par with other major events like the Commonwealth Games and European Championships.

    “To tackle this challenge, we focused on consistent messaging and branding. Each of the 13 individual championships retained its unique character - catering to its audience while being an integral part of the larger spectacle. The mantra was simple: ‘this is the biggest cycling event ever.’ Initially met with scepticism, this message gained momentum throughout the championships, ultimately defining the event in the eyes of spectators and the media.

    “To support event messaging, we harnessed all that was great about Scotland to create an attractive package. We were very conscious of steering clear of clichés and stereotypes. Instead, we aimed to highlight what makes Scotland and its people unique and exceptional. However, one of Scotland’s greatest assets, the highland cow, made for a great mascot and our Champs Coo with its rainbow-jersey striped horns was an instant hit.

    “Due to restrictions on showing sporting content on UCIs own channels, we faced limitations in showcasing the event's action on the field. To work around this we curated content that showed the Championships through the eyes of the fans, capturing the event's essence and flavour. The tone of voice on social media was authentic and fun, focusing on the quirky and memorable moments, spiced up with a dash of humour and memes. Collaboration with broadcasters like BBC Sport and Eurosport helped tell the story of the championships through various channels, making it accessible to a wider audience.

    “In the year running up to the Championships, we created Squiggly Bike TV. This episodic content series delved into the vibrant culture and passionate community behind the championships. It served as a bridge for new audiences to connect with the event on a personal level. This continued into the 2023 Championships where we produced 12 daily episodes for fans to keep up with the action on and off the bikes.

    “While there were many hurdles to overcome leading up to and during the event, I think that we did a great job of positioning Scotland as a fantastic destination for a global sporting event. We not only celebrated cycling but also showcased the rich tapestry of Scottish culture to the world, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of audiences worldwide.”

    Rob Arbuthnot will be talking in depth about the marketing strategy, challenges and successes at the Marketing the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships event hosted by the Chartered Institute of Marketing on Wednesday 27th September from 17:30 at the City of Glasgow College.


    Get your tickets today



    For media enquiries

    For further media information please contact the Emma Dent at Pelican Communications emma.dent@pelicomms.co.uk

    James Delves 
    CIM Head of PR, Content and Community 

    Bryndley Walker  
    PR Executive 

    About CIM

    For over 100 years, CIM has supported the marketing sector. With members in more than 100 countries, CIM strives for business leaders and opinion formers to recognise the positive contribution professional marketing can bring to business, society and the planet. We support, develop and represent marketers, organisations and the profession all over the world. Our ability to award Chartered Marketer status recognises a marketer’s commitment to staying current and abiding by a professional Code of Conduct. While our diverse range of training courses and world-renowned qualifications, enable modern marketers to thrive in their roles and deliver long-term success for businesses. Find out more about CIM by visiting www.cim.co.uk

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