The opportunity that a home Rugby World Cup affords to brands and sponsors is a large one. With the eyes of the rugby world focused solely on this tournament it is time for them excel and deliver in the same manner that our International rugby sides want to do. Already in the build up we have seen a number of brands and teams' partners showing their hands from an activation perspective and I thought that it would be interesting to review and feature a few of these campaigns.
Of course those with full tournament rights, also known as Rugby World Cup Worldwide Partners; Heineken, LandRover, DHL, Societe General, Emirates and MasterCard have the most to play with. They are the only ones that are allowed to use the words Rugby World Cup and the Official tournament logo in their activity and alongside activating prior to the event they'll each play a role during the tournament. With a number of years in brand management I find it fascinating to see the different routes and avenues that these sponsors and others have taken. From their choice of insight to the creative images that they develop, each has their own unique style and there is little to no crossover in terms of their activation.
Brands that hit the nail on the head when it comes to sponsorship and activation are those that are able to make a seamless link between their product's usage and the event in question. A perfect example of this is LandRover and their takeover of the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour. From the tournament organisers' perspective the Trophy Tour is there to engage individuals across the country with the forthcoming competition and to give them a chance to see the beautiful work of art that is the William Webb Ellis Trophy aka Bill. For LandRover they are able to showcase their own work of art through the bespoke LandRover Discovery that safely transports Bill around the country. The Discovery is a serious bit of kit and has featured in almost every press release and piece of AV and written content about the trophy tour.
Alongside this they have developed the #WeDealInReal campaign and have been delivering the messages to young rugby fans that have won the chance to be match mascots at the forthcoming tournament. The use of their rugby ambassadors to deliver these messages have created superb video content and their focus on grass roots with this part of their activation endears them to the public as well as making at difference at the heart of our sport. LandRover, as expected, have done a brilliant job to date and I expect that there will be more to come during the course of the tournament.
For Heineken their focal point is owning the pre-match coin toss as 48 fans will have the opportunity to flick the coin prior to every Rugby World Cup match including the Final. At first listen sponsoring the coin toss sounds a little cheesy however when you think about it this is actually cracking prize to be able to offer and something that is a little different. Heineken are no strangers to rugby having sponsored the RWC in 1995, 2003, 2007 and 2011 as well as putting it's name to the European competition from 1995 to 2014. Their articulated objective when it comes to rugby sponsorship is to 'provide creative and entertaining campaigns to leverage the sponsorship' and with a cast that includes Jonah Lomu, Scott Quinnell, Matt Dawson, Will Carling and John Smit they have a great blend of individuals to work with.
Another brand that is excelling is Canterbury, the official tournament kit supplier, as they are building on the success of their FanCam activity and going to town with it. FanCam was launched earlier in the season and personally I believe that this activation and lever is totally on the money. In today's society we all love watching other people do things, the popularity of reality TV shows us this and FanCam has enabled Canterbury to tap into this and showcase their products to millions without ramming them down people's throats. Now they are handing the reins to individuals in order to win the 'Ultimate Fan Cam' experience at one of the RWC matches with one individual even winning a place at the RWC Final. The fact fans will create videos to enter and then star in 'FanCams' at the tourament gives Canterbury a very large footprint to showcase themselves and a great amount of social media activity. Eyeballs are king and through user and brand generated content Canterbury have this one nailed!
It is interesting to see how brands are using this very large opportunity to showcase themselves and of course there are many more. From Lucozade to O2 to Duracell the nation's brands are going rugby crazy and why shouldn't they with the eyes of the world focused on England 2015?!