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Rugby World Cup Ambush Marketing: Agencies devise brand ideas to capitalise unofficially on tournament

With the Rugby World Cup kicking off quite literally, The Drum challenged marketing agencies to develop some ambush marketing stunts for brands not connected to the tournament which would help them gain unofficial exposure from the event.

Here's what they came up with:

NHS - Brothers and Sisters


Rugby is an incredibly physical sport with no quarter asked or given.

Injuries can be very serious.

Perfect for a campaign for encouraging organ donation for the NHS.

We’re going to get behind England and rattle the Aussies by wishing them luck and cheekily encouraging them to register as NHS organ donors before the big game.

Westons - Southpaw



Crouch! Bind! Sup!

During the Rugby World Cup let’s give fans the chance to compete in their own mini scrum(tious) battle.

Rival teams or individuals can see who is packing the biggest drive while helping create a limited edition Stowford Press Rugby World Cup cider the winners can then take away.

The ‘Press’ is placed in high volume rugby areas and wannabe Props, Flankers, Hookers and Locks will be filmed, scored and rewarded for their efforts.

Stowford Press Cider – Press on!

Jewson - Bloom


Jewson Bringing the O2 Giants

Following on from the O2 'Make them Giants' campaign, builder’s merchants Jewson can construct life-size giants from materials stocked in their stores.

The giants arrive at the stadium on a Jewson truck greeting fans with the message, “Jewson, bringing the giants to the game”, creating a selfie opportunity not to be missed.

Jewson are a brand already involved in sports and the local community and by bringing the giants to the game they can raise awareness of their brand and vast product range with a relevant audience.​​

Mini - The Moment


The London Olympics and Brazil World Cup showed the impact of real time social media. Powered by smartphones and Twitter, millions of fans across the planet want to be constantly connected to the action from the RWC. Keeping up with the score is of course straight-forward but rights issues make the sharing of video highlights more problematic. The solution OF COURSE is to hire a team of under-12 rugby players, have them re-enact big match moments as they happen and immediately get them up on Vine/Twitter/Instagram/Facebook. Armed with a big box of props (wigs, headbands) and marker pens to write names on players’ shirts This kind of tongue in cheek, relevant yet agile content needs a likeminded publisher, who can embrace this guerrilla approach. In our mind there could only be one: Mini. They are the perfect partner to create these highly shareable Mini moments, all under the banner of #MiniRugby.

Visa - Doner

Guinness - Doner

Shop Window - RPM


The Hooker

The activation is set in a shop front in Twickenham town centre, disrupting locals and fans as they head to the stadium. True scale, however, will come via the video content.

Both stunt and video play on a reveal. We capture attention with a famous England Hooker in a shop window. Maybe he’s dancing. It then reveals that the narrative is actually focusing on ‘hookers’ – the derogatory term used flippantly but disguising a genuine problem right here in the UK. In the live stunt, the women would be concealed

behind curtains until a crowd arrives and are then revealed, exposing the real meaning behind this campaign.

This shocking stunt will aid the brand by stealing the world’s gaze to highlight a real problem right under our nose, helping the brand tackle the problem.

Bombardier - Doner

Budweiser - Doner

Fosters - 23 Red



The idea is to hand out alternative Reflinks to rugby fans before they enter the stadium. This way we get to talk to them directly during the game on our very own pirate broadcast channel.

It would work well for Fosters. As a final Swansong to the hugely popular Brad and Dan Fosters agony uncles, we’d like to see one final Good Call appearance.

Broadcast from a bedroom in a semi near the stadium, Brad and Dan would provide an alternative ref link commentary. It would be irreverent, partisan and very very funny.

Our Reflink would be called ROFLink. (Roll On the Floor Laughing)

Red Bull - Bloom


Everyone loves to be catapulted over really tall objects. That’s why our beloved rugby fans will tear up their entry tickets when they see this option to get into the game. Free Red Bull on hand to help fans magically grow wings for a smooth landing inside the stadium. Or fans could just sit in the chair and tweet their photograph.

Jeep - Doner

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