Harlequins: Big brand thinking on a shoestring


Despite a tight budget a clever marketing campaign attracted a sell-out crowd for a Harlequins match that has turned into a brand in its own right.


  • Harlequins Football Club wanted to attract an audience that extended above and beyond regular rugby fans to create a branded event — The Big Game 2 — that would become a regular spot in the annual events calendar.

  • The imaginative multi-media campaign punched far above its weight, with outdoor advertising, national and local media, extensive public relations (PR), sponsorship, player appearances, social networking, e-CRM, digital affiliates, radio and experiential marketing.

  • More than 76,000 people filled Twickenham on the day of the match, breaking the record for a standard club fixture.


The Harlequin Football Club was founded in 1866 (although the first recorded game was not until 1867) as Hampstead Football Club and renamed in 1870. The club has won the Rugby Football Union Club knockout competition on two occasions: The John Player Cup in 1988 and Pilkington Cup in 1991. It was also the first British side to win the European Shield in 2001, going on to win the renamed Parker Pen Challenge Cup again in 2004.