This autumn will see the most significant sporting festival to take place in the UK since the 2012 Olympics – the Rugby World Cup, the third largest international sporting event in the calendar. Taking place in England, the home of rugby, the tournament is a golden opportunity for affiliated brands to reach a global audience.
With worldwide partners such as Land Rover and Heineken, these brands will appeal to consumers irrespective of their knowledge or passion for rugby. However, there is also the chance to attract new fans, even if it is just for the duration of the tournament. It’s an opportunity for brands to tap into the feel -good factor that such events can stimulate.
It happened for some nations and brands at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, just as it did at the Winter Olympics – the one and only time in four years people outside of the curling fraternity schedule viewing time to watch and get excited by the sport!
From the brands' perspective, in addition to the global exposure, it’s an opportunity to extend their marketing campaigns beyond the stadiums and ATL initiatives that they do all year round. On-pack offers, promotional advertising and experiential campaigns all have the capability to get brands in front of a greater consumer audience, taking the tournament and its associated buzz away from Twickenham and sharing it regionally on the high street and in-store.
During the 2012 London Olympics, Samsung created an engaging campaign that extended experiences outside of Elizabeth Park. The leading electronics brand created pop-up ‘Samsung Studios’ focusing on demonstrating the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note. Located in some of the UK’s major shopping centres and Heathrow T1, visitors could play with Samsung’s Olympic Games app and enter competitions. No products were sold at the studios, but having entered into an experience, just over a third (35 per cent) of respondents said they were much more likely to consider Samsung.
Dove Men+Care has been involved with rugby for a number of years, implementing experiential campaigns and demonstrating that even the most macho of men do moisturise and aren’t shy of looking after themselves. In the run-up to the tournament, Dove Men+Care is creating a 360 campaign that connects TV, social and ends with consumers being able to win sold-out world cup tickets in-store.
Beyond this engagement and to drive sales, brands need to be conscious of how their carefully devised messaging is translated at the point of purchase and communicated to store staff and shoppers alike. If sales staff are unaware of Toshiba’s (an RWC world-wide partner) latest product range, or how to sell their products and what the latest promotions are, then that is a lost opportunity. Similarly if shoppers are left non-the-wiser about the latest offers then there is a diminishing of the wider marketing efforts.
To perfect their in-store execution, merchandising and product demonstrations from trained brand ambassadors need to be linked-up at the point of purchase to complete the omni-channel experience.
Brands need to extend the consumer journey from TV and online to in-store for products that are impulse purchases as part of a weekly shop and for more considered purchases throughout the lengthy six weeks of the tournament (17 September to 31 October). Both, through association, create spontaneous awareness for tournament sponsors with everyone watching, rugby fan or not. Let’s also not forget the B2B opportunities affiliated to some of these brands which can realise an even greater return on sales and brand equity.
The Rugby World Cup is an opportunity for brands to reach consumers, mindful not to create any brand apathy, beyond sponsorship deals. It’s a chance for brands to influence people at all omni-channel touch points globally with physical and experiential campaigns as important as online engagement to create excitement and crucially drive sales.
Daniel Todaro is managing director at Gekko Group