OTB’s marketing round-up as the rugby world cup kicks off

This week has seen the start of the Rugby World Cup, with all eyes on Britain’s best stadiums as teams from around the world come together to compete. So far we’ve seen shock victories against one of the tournament’s favourites, rousing royal speeches, and not to mention a giant jigsaw rugby ball set at the heart of Twickenham. But it’s not just sporting fans that have gone mad for this week’s rugby, marketers too have joined in the festival atmosphere and sporting fever to make the most of what the World Cup has to offer. This week we take a look at some of the highlights of the Rugby World Cup marketing so far…

VALUE-LED MARKETING WITH GUINNESS

The Guardian has this week commented that whereas in years past a simple branded event map and pitch-side banner may have been considered the height of marketing for sport events, nowadays much more time, effort and crafting goes into a brand’s marketing strategy for such occasions. The Guardian argues marketers do so ‘to capitalise on interest and gain as much traction (and noise) as possible,’ and with the International Rugby Board being known to be selective in its choice of sponsors and brand affiliations in order to uphold its strong sense of moral values, brands often covet an association with such tournaments.

One great example from this year’s World Cup marketing is Guinness, who have turned heads and hearts with their Never Alone campaign. With a video which tells the story of former Wales captain Gareth Thomas and his fears about disclosing his sexuality, the campaign speaks the values of inclusion, bravery and camaraderie so closely associated with rugby on and off the pitch. As the Guardian points out, ‘staying close to the values of your brand and the sport itself is critical in order to actually engage with the fans’, and Guinness have successfully created a strong, meaningful campaign tied to their #madeofmore hashtag. You can watch Gareth’s full story here.

TWITTER GETS EMOJI-NAL

With the Rugby World Cup generating attention and engagement on such a global scale, it should come as little surprise that Twitter has become one of the key platforms for marketers and fans alike to interact with all the latest trends of the event.

But Twitter has cleverly customised its sharing potential especially for the World Cup by creating emoji-hashtags for users looking to support their team. If you’re cringing at the thought of a thousand yellow faces suddenly gracing your Twitter feed, fear not, for Twitter have created a range of subtly branded rugby balls for each competing nation. Released in an animated blog post to kick-start the interest in the emojis, Twitter has created an interesting and unique way to personalise tweets above and beyond the mainstream #RWC2015.

If you’re desperate to tweet your fans colours but not quite sure of the trigger, Marketing Land has a useful dictionary of all your Rugby World Cup hashtag needs – what are you waiting for?

MARKETING MAGAZINE ON LAND ROVER

Industry publication Marketing Magazine has featured Land Rover as one of their favourite brands making an appearance at the Rugby World Cup. As one of the worldwide partners of the event, Land Rover have been heavily involved in the build-up and organisation, from providing a customised Land Rover Defender with a built in trophy cabinet for the 100-day trophy tour around the UK and Ireland to selecting the 96 child mascots who will be walking out on the pitch over the next few weeks.

Land Rover has a huge audience potential as part of their involvement with the Cup, and have sought to focus on experiential marketing in order to build relationships with their customers. Land Rover has cleverly focused on grass-roots involvement with the World Cup, with rugby festivals, ticket giveaways on social media and the use of film footage from small, local sports clubs to create their advertising campaign aligned to the hashtag #wedealinreal.

With three more matches scheduled for tonight, don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for some of the great rugby-themed marketing campaigns surrounding the tournament.

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