Clarisse Crémer x Alex Thomson Racing
Delivering global coverage on a woman's right to sail
After having her sponsorship dropped whilst on maternity leave, French sailor Clarisse Crémer’s hopes of returning to the Vendée Globe were destroyed, with the Parisian left without a boat or team.
The Vendée Globe is one of the toughest sporting challenges on earth today, where competitors navigate high winds, ferocious waves and hazardous ice on their journeys to the finish line, in what remains the ultimate prize in solo sailing.
On her debut in the race in 2020/21, Clarisse set the record for the fastest finishing time by a female skipper in the race’s history. Any aspirations for the 2024/25 edition of the race were put on hold however when Clarisse was let go by her previous sponsor shortly after having a baby, due to a perceived “risk” of not being able to qualify for the race in time – a decision which caused widespread outrage.
Long-standing PHA client, Alex Thomson Racing, stepped in to support Clarisse and provide her with the means to return to the job that she loves, together securing one of the best boats of the last generation and a new sponsor to help finance the campaign
With strong experience co-ordinating global sports announcements, PHA managed the international announcement of Clarisse’s return to sailing, working closely with Clarisse, Alex Thomson Racing and the new sponsor to secure coverage in priority international markets including China, America and Germany.
For a race that starts and finishes in France, it was crucial that we appealed to a global audience. To do this, we needed to effectively communicate why this story and the fight for equity had implications for international women’s sport, and why the Vendée Globe is widely considered to be one of the toughest tests of physical and mental endurance in all of sport. We used data to educate, citing the fact that just over 100 people have successfully finished the Vendée Globe, compared to more than 6,000 people who have climbed Mount Everest.
Aware of the sensitivities that came before the announcement, we media trained Clarisse to help prepare for any press interviews, and this was especially important given that the interviews were conducted in both French and English.
Closely managed embargoed interviews were set up with global media outlets, giving Clarisse an opportunity to talk about her return to sailing and use her voice to inspire change in the conversation around maternity policies in sport and wider society. The embargoed interviews were coordinated to land around the international press release distribution for the announcement, whilst PHA also managed inbound international media enquiries.
The positivity of the coverage was immense, with campaign key messages integrated throughout, focusing on the natural partnership between Clarisse and her new sponsor given their shared values of empowering women.