England Rugby has launched a new campaign to back the Rugby World Cup as it looks to piggy back on the buzz around the tournament and entice 16-24 year olds to take part in the game.
Rolling out from today (25 September), the ‘We Call it Rugby’ campaign, created in partnership with Vice Media's in-house creative division Virtue Worldwide, aims to bring new people into the sport and plug the “leakage” experienced when people leave school or university and fail to re-join a rugby club.
A series of documentaries forms the crux of the push and shows people from all different kinds of backgrounds who play the sport as England Rugby looks to finally shed itself of its private school image.
Speaking to The Drum head of marketing at RFU (England Rugby) Nic Fletcher said that although he doesn’t believe rugby has an image problem the campaign will help the governing body to push out the message that the game can be played by anyone.
“We all want to shake off those stereotypes and keep moving in a direction that gets that message out there that rugby is unbelievably accessible,” he said. “Not only is it everywhere and available to everyone but there is a form of rugby for you whatever your background.”
Marketing spend for the campaign has been boosted to capitalise on the World Cup excitement with the majority of pounds allocated to digital and social platforms to drive traffic to England Rugby’s recently revamped Find Rugby platform - a hub of information and content where visitors can find local rugby clubs. The campaign’s success will be measured via traffic to the website, engagement with the documentary series and ultimately an upsurge in participation of the game. England Rugby has also teamed with YouTube vlogger Joe Suggs to tap into his 5 million YouTube and 2 million Twitter followers.
To maintain the momentum at the close of the tournament and build on its legacy, England Rugby is currently planning the release of another surge of content and initiatives to build on the Vice partnership.
“A lot of it [marketing] has been supercharged around the World Cup there’s no doubt about that and a lot of investment at the club level has been put into engage in that surge of interest and absorb that growth and capacity. That’s an effort that has increased in the run up but that will continue beyond,” said Fletcher.
As a governing body with its spending under scrutiny, Fletcher said that brand partnerships around the World Cup, such as Samsung and BMW, are “gold dust” for England Rugby. “When we see our brand and the values of the game and passion of the game being promoted through the likes of O2 It’s phenomenal and they are doing an enormous job for us as well as their own brands it’s a win win.”
The campaign will run until 31 October.