The recent Warriors campaign was all about the fans—and the emotional rollercoaster they ride every year. The wider Super Rugby competition has embraced the fans too with its Play Your Part campaign. And the Blues and its agency Big have also tapped into that supporter-focused sentiment with Join the Game.
"With 86,000 fans Liking the team on Facebook and 26,000 following us on Twitter we know what whenever we take the field our crowd number is so much more than just the number of people at the game or watching on TV," it says in a release. So this year it's asking all its fans to join in—and it's giving them lots of ways to get involved throughout the season.
To kick it all off, the ad for the Crusaders game last weekend featured a real fan, Haven Crawford, a passionate Blues supporter who's at every game in her Blues jersey. She’s even been in to cook lunch for the team at training.
“I loved being there [at the photoshoot] and seeing the whole creative process. Getting suited up, having my hair and makeup done and then finally being able to bring the concept to life was amazing,” she says. “On top of all of that, having the chance to chat and share a joke or two with some of the players I'd only previously gotten to know a bit through social media was awesome. I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.”
She's loud and proud on social media, and she says the response to her appearance was crazy.
"I've never had so many likes, mentions and re-tweets for one post before, but once again the main thing is getting the seats at the stadium filled so I hope the attendance on the night reflects that."
In the end, 26,211 turned up, which is pretty good considering last year's average attendance, according to Wikipedia, was 19,661 (the highest attendance was 31,014.
The 2014 team poster came out in the New Zealand Herald recently. And, in the spirit of ‘Join the game’, rather than the traditional folded arms, staunch looks and bad puns, each of the players was asked to take their own ‘selfie’, which added a bit of personality to proceedings.
Space was left for fans to add their own shot. And fans have also been encouraged to Tweet their own selfie using #jointhegame.
Sky is also promoting the return of the competition, with its own campaign showing players expressing themselves.