As a popular team sport in the UK rugby stands alone in terms of its physicality, football is on a different planet altogether and whilst American Football obviously isn't for the fainthearted the pads make it just a touch tamer in my eyes!!
If you look back in history a large number of the most memorable rugby moments fall into two categories; they are either demonstrations of sublime talent or manifestations of intense physicality. Brian O'Driscoll delivered a huge number of the former and when Jonah Lomu arrived on the scene he led the charge on the latter. Lomu changed the face of the sport forever as he showcased levels of strength and power that none of us had ever seen on the wing. Indeed many of the individuals that have left the greatest impression on our game have been ultimate competitors and those that have displayed immense physical prowess, the likes of Bakkies Botha, Martin Johnson, Paul O'Connell and many more.
As mentioned in a previous blog this Rugby World Cup is also a chance for brands to showcase themselves on the world stage. The modern and commercial world that we live in means that there are opportunities all over the park for brands to activate and sponsor elements of the tournament and Duracell is another to grab their chance.
On first thought the term 'square peg and round hole' springs to mind when you think of a brand that makes batteries and elite rugby. However like others they have gone back to the purpose of their product and looked at how that can link with the sport at hand. This train of thought has led them to work with the Rugby World Cup's data providers Opta. Opta's credibility in rugby is second to none, they provide all of the official match statistics (turnovers, meters made, tackles etc.) for the Aviva Premiership and will do so for the forthcoming tournament. This alignment to Opta instantly provides Duracell with vicarious credibility and a focus on the statistical side of the game also allows them to align with their own energy giving properties.
In short the #PowerCheck will track a combination of performance indicators including tackles, carries, turnovers won and discipline during the course of each game, with a greater weighting towards players that remain on the pitch for longer. The data then will create a score out of 100 giving Duracell something clear to talk and focus on during every match over the six weeks of competition.
Once again this is a simple but clear way of a brand linking themselves to the focus of the nation and like LandRover and Canterbury it stays close enough to the brand purpose to be seen to be credible and useful to individuals. As a premium brand I expect that a strong objective of Duracell will be to differentiate themselves from their branded competition and this activation will certainly be one method of doing so.
Now that we have reviewed a number of brands' activations for the Rugby World Cup it is time to head back to England's final warm up fixture and the selection decisions that rest on Stuart Lancaster's shoulders. This week will be a tremendously intense one for England and every single player knows that nothing less than a victory on Saturday afternoon will suffice.