In light of Emirates Team New Zealand’s epic triumph, Stickman’s been quick come out with his own reenactment of this morning’s action.
With the All Blacks vs Lions matches an occasion for both hardcore enthusiasts and fairweather fans alike, plenty of brands have been quick to grab a slice of the sport’s lucrative commercial pie. In honour of this, we present to you our completely arbitrary set of awards for rugby mania in adland.
From a boppy spot about Kiwi cliches to a somewhat awkward tour around Auckland’s best ‘training grounds’, there’s been no shortage of ads promoting the much anticipated Lions Tour. Many of the ads have focused on highlighting New Zealand’s scenery and culture, and Flying Fish has continued the tradition with a spot for Sky Sports UK.
With sports teams, we often speak in the possessive, referring to “our team”, “our win” or “our home turf” even though none of those things actually belong to us. Well, BNZ is looking to give the endless stream of possessive phrases some more meaning with a new campaign that allows New Zealanders to claim a piece of the Crusaders’ turf for themselves.
Judging by the numerous rugby-related office discussions and the blanket media coverage—from the above board chat on outlets like Radio New Zealand to the below board banter inside a giant scrotum as part of the Alternative Commentary Collective’s Champagne Rugby, you could be forgiven for thinking the nation has a collective ‘code boner’ over the Rugby World Cup at present. But is rugby losing its lustre in New Zealand? And is there a limit to the All Black appropriation?
Dr. Paul Bracewell, founding partner and chief data scientist at Dot Loves Data, says the statistics being thrown around in the media about the 2015 Rugby World Cup are typical of many applications of analytics in the business world: there are few actionable insights being provided. So he crunched the numbers and showed that the simplest solution is often the best.
As the All Blacks depart to defend the Webb Ellis cup in the UK, the nation is gearing up for a few weeks of early morning code watching. It’s obviously a pretty big deal for a rugby-loving nation and, as we saw during the Cricket World Cup, the clicks are likely to follow. But the Herald might be taking it a bit far with the branding of its rugby hub, which is sponsored by—who else?—Steinlager. Syrian refugee crisis? Pfffffff.
Rugby rash is spreading quickly among the marketing community, with tournament sponsors, team sponsors and filthy ambushers all riding that World Cup train like Tom Cruise in an action movie. We’ve already seen plenty of local activity and here are a few from the host countries.
During the Cricket World Cup, ANZ used its Dream Big initiative to get cut-through the marketing noise during the Cricket World Cup. Rather than focusing exclusively on the event, the bank brought its Black Caps sponsorship to life by travelling around the country showing its support for grassroots cricket by upgrading the facilities at various grounds around the country. And now, with the Rugby World Cup fast approaching, ANZ is at it again, this time renovating Waitemata Rugby Club in a new video posted to Facebook. The difference in this instance is that ANZ isn’t even a sponsor of Rugby New Zealand, the All Blacks or the Rugby World Cup.
Technology has a history of subversion. Apple’s classic 1984 ad showed its beliefs very literally. Streaming and internet-enabled piracy are changing the media and entertainment business. Google changed the way we advertise. And now businesses like Airbnb, Uber and many others are fighting against powerful incumbents and antiquated regulation to give consumers better services. While the confiscation of a few cowbells from a rugby game at Westpac Stadium in Wellington certainly isn’t in the same category, MEA Mobile and app partner (and Chiefs sponsor) Deosan have showed their subversive side by developing a digital substitute for Chiefs fans.
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.
When AIG announced its five-and-a-half year sponsorship deal with the NZRU and plonked its logo in the middle of the esteemed black jersey, some naysayers decried the game’s descent into commercialism, while those involved in the deal celebrated the massive boost it would give the game in this country. As is almost always the case, no-one really seems to care anymore. The logo is just … there. And now that the dust has settled on the unveiling of the jersey, AIG has launched its first major rugby-related campaign, ‘It’s Our Job’.
In what could be seen as either a blow for rugby purists lamenting the sport’s descent into commercialism or a massive boost for the New Zealand Rugby Union—and the game as a whole—global insurance company American International Group has signed a five and a half year sponsorship agreement that will see its logo take pride of place in the middle of the All Black jersey.
The NZRU will no doubt be hoping the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup win might put a bit more lead in its commercial pencil to help get through a fairly difficult time for the national sport. And it’s managed to retain five of the team’s major sponsors, with Coca-Cola, Unilever, Sanitarium, Barkers and Bvlgari re-signing as All Blacks sponsors for undisclosed sums.
Dr Obvious has diagnosed the RWC as being a pretty hot social media topic (recently released stats show there have been more than 1,931,215 tweets about the #RWC2011 over the past five weeks when you include all teams, hashtags and @rugbyworldcup). And, as this infographic shows, the All Blacks are winning the conversation wars ahead of Sunday’s trans-Tasman semi-final stoush.
Brad Novak via Cleverbastards.co.nz
With the nation currently in the grip of a violent strain of rugby fever (symptoms include very low workplace productivity, constant gridlock in Auckland, increasing popularity for psychic animals, ads between the haka, Google doodles and a penchant for infographics), it’s fairly difficult to think about anything else today.
Rugby is infused into a vast array of marketing campaigns at the moment and there have already been a few savvy and seemingly legal attempts by non-sponsors to skirt the rules and cash in on the Big Rugby Event. Unashamedly patriotic bread brand Vogel’s and its agency Publicis Mojo are the latest to join that cheeky anti-establishment club with another simple but very effective outdoor campaign that welcomes the tournament and offers some support to the boys.
In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s 2011. 1987 was a while ago now. And while it must have been a very exciting time for Kiwis of yesteryear to win a Rugby World Cup, do we really have to point every element of tournament communication and design back to the glory days?
With the Rugby World Cup only 18 months away, many businesses are thinking about how they can leverage off this event. And the prudent answer is ‘very carefully’, bearing in mind the provisions of the Major Events Management Act 2007 (MEMA).