Augmenting Event Experiences with Digital

by Josh Canter

ATA International World Championship Expo 2016


The Event

At the end of June, ATA International–the largest taekwondo organization in the world–held it’s annual World Championship in Little Rock, AK. 40,000 taekwondo students and instructors joined together for a week long of events: workshops, testing, historic events (like the Master’s Ceremony and Master Chesterton’s 9th Degree Black Belt testing), competition, and spending time with the ATA family.

As ATA International’s digital agency of record, we played a part in bolstering their online presence during the week. We went in with two goals:

  1. Increase in the awareness of ATA International with prospective students, specifically those with a connection to existing students.
  2. Not replace, but provide a supplement of content online for those in attendance of events during the week.

Knowing our audience, we focused our content production on two platforms: Facebook and Snapchat. Those are where our audience (both students and prospective students) live.

Increasing Engagement Among Current Students & Reaching Prospective Students

Knowing the demographics of each social network, we set out to first create experiences on Snapchat. This means harnessing the unique and powerful advertising unit of geofilters. As we went through the schedule of events, we brainstormed not only filters that complimented the event but encouraged users to share the experience with their friends.

Sharability is at the core of designs for geofilters.

This allows us to reach the target audience of our first goal: prospective students with connections to current students.

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Additionally, we featured all snaps that were sent to @ATAWorldwide account on our live story. This created micro-moments between the headquarters and students, as well as showed the diversity of perspectives of each event from the eyes of our own students. There is no better recruiting content than the first-person student perspective.

Snapchat Scavenger Hunt

Pivoting towards our second goal–complimenting people’s experience online–we crafted a six-clue scavenger hunt completely on Snapchat. Using geofilters, we directed participates throughout the Convention Hall and surrounding area. Each location was where an event was to be or had been held and represented a specific part of ATA family tradition.

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The hunt was publicized through word-of-mouth (telling the social media seminar attendees ignited a buzz around the halls) and through all social media mediums.

We also recruited an ATA International influencer, X5 Member Riley Peterson, to introduce the scavenger hunt live on Facebook. After promotion the event, he took to @ATAWorldwide’s Snapchat account to go through the scavenger hunt with his fans.

Broadcasting Historical Events – Master G.K. Lee’s Testing and The Largest Master’s Ceremony

With the recent release of Facebook live and priority in organic reach given to live videos, there was no doubt we were going to utilize it during the week. However, we started with a foundational rule for every time we went live: we didn’t want to mirror the experience of being at the event. By just showing what you was going on at the event, you would lose the competitive edge of being at the event, the incentive to participate last year, and isolate a whole population of our audience that was already at an event. Each time we went live, we had to provide a new experience, a new angle, or a new commentary that they couldn’t have got from just being at the event.


The Most Successful Live Video

Before Chief Master G.K. Lee passed his test for 9th Degree Black Belt, only a few top members of the organization had achieved this honor. It is a true testament of transparency when one of the most senior members tests for this honor in front of the whole ATA family.

Tens of thousands gathered in the testing hall, while over 100,000 people watched the combined 15-minute long live video online as Chief Master G.K. Lee tested for his 9th Degree Black Belt.

This video, shot from on stage, provided a unique perspective for those in attendance to watch and a bird’s eye view of the testing and audience for those who couldn’t attend.

Days Later: Reliving The Full Moments

Besides bringing the standard production equipment–cameras, mics, phones, etc–we brought along a 360Fly camera. We mounted this tennis ball sized camera to our traditional tripod, tilted it forward, and raised it up as far as it would go. This allows us to film a minute and a half long viewing of the ceremony in the exact perspective of being on stage.

Publishing it on Facebook allowed our audience to tilt and pan their phone to see every pixel of viewing this historic event. This video, and rightful so, got reactions ranging from “wow” to “breathtaking”.

The first big event of the week was the Master’s Ceremony. This parade ending with an hour long ceremonious traditions represents the graduation of a new class of Masters. Centered around the H.U. Lee International Gate and Garden in downtown Little Rock, allowed us to strategically set up our 360-degree camera for the perfect angle. Weeks before, in talks about the World Expo, ATA International communicated to us that this event had a large crowd that would gather outside the gate to watch the ceremony. Upon arriving for rehearsal, we found just the spot: perched on top the outermost light pole. The only problem was that the bottom of the 360-degree camera was unviewable when recording.

So, we turned it upside down. What was created was the perfect angle to look down on the large crowd that gathered, as well as look forward to seeing the ceremony coming out of the gate.


The hour-long ceremony was cropped down to the last four minutes where two founding members of ATA International were inducted as Grand Master Instructors–another historic moment of the week.

Moments You Could Only See Online

From the beginning, one of our goals was to provide a supplement of content, not replace actual viewing of the events. Given the magnitude of the week, there was tons of events and experiences that we could chase and provide different angles.

Exclusive Events and Exclusive Moments

Besides the traditional belt system, ATA International provides several tracks that allow for more advance techniques, including the usage of weapons and sparring. If you are on this track, you were invited to a Team Sparring event with Mr. Jesse Isaacs. We used this event to do two things.

First, we promoted another upcoming exclusive opt-in event through live video. Give the popularity of our personality, we capitalized on the high-action event through providing a quick 40-second live video of the what the upcoming event would feel like.

Additionally, we got giddy with excitement after coming up with the idea to put our 360-degree camera in the center of the action. After a careful warning to those sparring, we hit record and provided an exclusive look into the world of sparring to those on Facebook–our first 360-degree video for ATA International.

Unseen Perspectives At Well-Attended Events

Each year, ATA International puts on a Family Fun Night towards the end of the week. Besides bringing in outside acts (Kevin Delaney from Jimmy Fallon) they have competitions among teams worldwide. Facebook live video gave us two opportunities: to promo the event by playing up the competition and provide a backstage look via one of the competitors.

Traditionally, Twitter is seen as the hub for live events. But with new content publishing tools and advertising capabilities, Facebook and Snapchat are becoming cornerstones of event digital strategy.