Clipper PR man to give talk in city

The Derry-Londonderry-Doire clipper is now on its way to the Netherlands.
The Derry-Londonderry-Doire clipper is now on its way to the Netherlands.

Londonderry is set to reach a global audience when the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race sails into the Foyle next week.

At an event organised by The Chartered Institute of Marketing and supported by Derry City Council on June 23, the communications expert behind the Clipper Race’s global success will be telling marketers from across Ireland how it created such a successful and profitable brand.

Clipper Ventures’ Global Business and Communications Director Jonathan Levy will give an insight into the business of marketing one of the world’s most exciting yacht races crewed almost entirely by amateurs.

The Clipper Race has grown its international profile and is projected to reach a cumulative global media audience in the current race which is fifteen times greater than in 2006-7.

Media and internet exposure reaches a potential global audience of more than half a billion people. The race week in Londonderry is anticipated to bring in 100,000 people and to generate £5m for the local economy.

“It was very important that the first race positioned Derry as a major global player. The race was stopping in major cities in China, the US and Australia and this was a chance to put the city on an international platform. During that first race visit in 2012 Derry really was able to show that it could pull off such a major event and it gave people a lot more confidence in its ability to manage the City of Culture,” Mr Levy explained.

“Now Derry-Londonderry is looking at how it can plug into our brand and what we’ve achieved to create a multiplier effect for the city,” he added.

The Clipper Race was conceived in 1995 by Sir Robin Knox Johnston and together with William Ward they founded Clipper Ventures to run the race. The event gives approximately 680 paying amateur crew members the chance to race across oceans and, for some, to sail round the world on 12 boats with the race starting back in September last year in England.

Sponsorship is a key element to the success of the business model and the race now generates one of the highest returns on investment for sponsors compared to other sailing events.

This success was driven by a marketing plan that addresses two key audiences – potential crew members and sponsors. “The race is incredibly exciting and the way that we communicate that is essential to the success of the brand. Our marketing, PR and digital communications are all integrated to really get that message out there.”

Richard Houdmont, CIM’s Network Manager for Ireland, said:”This is a brilliant opportunity for marketers in Ireland to hear one of the great business success stories and to learn tips and insights into how marketing and communications can really build a brand.”

Clipper Project Manager from Derry City Council and CIM Board Member Aeidin McCarter said she was delighted to be able to facilitate a CIM CPD event in Derry during the Legenderry Maritime Festival and the stopover of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

“It is a very exciting time for the city and the culmination of the circumnavigation of the globe by the Clipper Fleet and of course the Derry~Londonderry~Doire entry in the race. The international yacht race is a great learning case study for any marketing professional and to have this session delivered by Clipper Ventures’ Global Business and Communications Director Jonathan Levy is a real coup,” she said.

Mr Levy comes from a media and marketing background and established a regional production and communications agency in the UK in the 1980s and developed an international client base, including pioneering digital media development. His company, which developed the first video on demand service in the UK, was bought by a US media group based in Chicago. He worked extensively in North America and Europe on digital media initiatives, global brand management and marketing campaigns.

In 2001 Levy established a specialist media, communications and events consultancy back in the UK. In 2006 one of his clients sponsored an entry in the Clipper Race. The relationship developed and after supporting three sponsors in the next edition of the race he joined Clipper Ventures to lead and develop its communications team.

Jonathan Levy’s talk takes place on 23 June at 5.30pm at Invest NI’s office on Timber Quay in Derry. The event is free and is open to non-members but advance booking is required. Further information is available on or phone 01628 427340.