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Brands gear up for Rugby World Cup

News, 06 August 2015

LONDON: Dutch brewer Heineken and soft drinks giant Coca-Cola both intend to use their sponsorship of the forthcoming 2015 Rugby World Cup to enhance their brand-building strategies.

The tournament, which kicks off at Twickenham Stadium in London from 18 September, is expected to draw in a cumulative global TV audience of more than four billion people.

Given such a number, Heineken UK has decided to plough nearly half of its marketing budget into sponsorship of the tournament and has developed rugby-themed TV ads and social media videos, Marketing Week reported.

Heineken's multi-channel "It's Your Call" campaign includes a TV ad featuring All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu and John Smit, formerly of the Springboks, while the company is also spending on print, social, digital, OOH and PR activity.

In addition, it is launching a Heineken Rugby Studio at Twickenham where former stars comment on the action with videos sent across the company's digital and social channels.

David Lette, premium brands director at Heineken UK, told Marketing Week that the company had learned from its involvement with the UEFA Champions League football tournament that fans want to be directly involved with the game.

They no longer watch sport on a single screen and use their mobile devices throughout a match.

"We aim to not just sponsor events but give a fantastic experience back to consumers and fans," he said. "It's our way of really enhancing the experience and the second screen knowledge that we've built up over the years."

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola is ramping up its promotional activity with a new TV ad campaign that aligns with its "one-brand strategy" and an on-pack promotion giving consumers the chance to win limited edition rugby balls.

Coca-Cola is also producing a video featuring Jason Robinson, the former England World Cup winner, and there will be OOH advertising too.

Bobby Brittain, marketing director at Coca-Cola GB, explained that Coke Zero will take prominence in the campaign and that a focus on the ingredients and "intrinsics" of Coke Zero will be the basis for its Rugby World Cup promotion.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff