It's no secret that the fans are integral to the success of any modern sports team. If bums don't fill the seats, then profits dwindle. If sponsors don't have an audience, then they won't tag their names onto the shirts. And if there are no voices being screamed hoarse in the stadium, then a home advantage really makes no difference at all.
So, in its first campaign for the Vodafone Warriors since taking over the account, Special Group has teamed up with production company 8com to produce a new spot that puts the fans at the centre of the team.
Featuring a series of clips that showcase Kiwis of all shapes and sizes, the 45-second spot plays out in the form of poem being narrated by the fans and players.
"In celebration of our 20th anniversary we wanted to celebrate being New Zealand's team in the NRL premiership, one team taking on 15 Australian teams, and been doing so for 20 years," says Warriors events and entertainment consultant Holly Dean. "We don't do it alone, the concept 'we are all warriors' drums up the pride and loyal following in what really is 'your team' The result is our brand spot 'Nation of Warriors' which aired on Sunday, being followed with print, outdoor & digital."
And this approach seems to have paid off, given that the very fans targeted by the campaign have responded with compliments, excitement and "goosebumps" via the team's Facebook page.
Rather than using actors, Special Group and 8com cast real fans to participate in the spot.
"It was important for us that 'Nation of Warriors' was authentic, says Dean. "No talent was used in the spot. They're all season members and players cast with appearances from New Zealand music artists Ladi6 and Sid Diamond."
Apart from the members and artists, Vodafone Warriors captain Simon Mannering, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai and Shaun Johnson also feature prominently.
Previously, when &Some held the creative account for the Warriors, the team also drew attention to the fans via a press campaign the celebrated the commitment of those who support the team through the highs and lows.