Working in the heart of history

Turkcell Platinum Bosphorus Cup
© Kurt Arrigo

The Bosphorus Cup reached a milestone 15th edition in 2016. It is an extraordinary yachting event, worthy of more notoriety than it has garnered to date. How many other events can claim to completely shut down a major international trade route for six hours? Halting the passage of oil, grain, machinery and other everyday consumables between the world and the Black Sea ports of Romania, Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Georgia.

That is precisely what the ORG Sports team and their founder, Turkish yachtsman Orhan Gorbon, do each year – albeit, of course, with the support of the Turkish Sailing Federation and, more importantly, the Turkish Government which controls the seaway by virtue of the little known 1935 Montreux Convention. The Bosphorus Strait connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and thence the Aegean and Mediterranean. It is one of the major trade arteries of the world with around 130 shipping transits a day, second only to the Strait of Malacca. Sailing is forbidden. The Bosphorus Cup, title sponsored in 2016 by Turkcell Platinum, is one of only three events each year that gets the waterway closed to commercial traffic and the sailing prohibition lifted.

Quinag was tasked with two roles. Firstly, improve the international promotion using assets provided by the event and original story-telling content we would create. Secondly, take a wider view of the event as a whole and offer recommendations for improvements in concept, execution and communication.

With a two week lead in to the event it was undoubtedly a challenge to fully understand the scope of the media opportunities. Once on site the possibilities became instantly clear. Istanbul – a city of 14 million residents, the magnificent Bosphorus itself, 3,000 years of history, the meeting of European and Asian culture, the openness of the Turks and an intriguing sporting contest leant themselves naturally to help us build a verbal picture of the event, which was brought further to life by photography and video.