England rugby union

What can the rugby world cup adverts teach us about engaging marketing?

We have heard and read, been told and re-told, that customer is KING. With this in mind, we should hardly be surprised with the news yesterday that John Lewis has promoted their Marketing Director to the newly created position of Customer Director, following suit from a number of other major brands.

What does all this have to do with the rugby world cup I hear you ask?

Well let me tell you.

As with every major sporting event, part of the fun in the build-up is the unveiling of the advertising campaigns of event and team sponsors. Hours of work, energy and genius is poured into these adverts – especially for international events, such as the 2015 rugby world cup, which has to appeal to a mass market audience.

These adverts have a unique opportunity to engage with an audience already nearing fever pitch for the event, an opportunity to draw in a wide ranging group of people with their content and if clever enough make that content shareable and relatable to a very broad audience.

This year’s 2015 rugby world cup adverts achieve brilliantly two marketing rules which are prominent in our consumer driven, customer focused market.

1. The adverts are created FOR their audiences with their audiences in mind.

Take O2’s ‘Make them giants’ animated campaign. O2’s Chief Marketing Officer Nina Bibby explains the campaign; ‘touches a broader audience’… ‘it will have more of an inclusive effect.’ Marketing Magazine 

This advert acknowledges that it’s not just die-hard fans and beer drinking men who enjoy the sport & especially at these international events which draw larger, sometimes less regular audiences, it’s important that brands seize the opportunity to be seen and talked about.

Or take Land Rover’s grass roots ‘We deal in real’ campaign. It’s not the tournament’s international stars that are celebrated here, but the ordinary men and women from the competing nations that train and play rain or shine in the sport they love. You can recognise your friends in there, your cousins, your colleague and you can relate to the superstars of the advert.

2. The adverts do that magical thing of engaging the visceral chasms of our psyche – which, according the Marketing Mag’s Rob Mansfield, ‘is all that counts in an attention-starved world.’

To some extent I think all of the adverts make us FEEL something; determination, emotion, the desire to be courageous, perhaps even patriotic.

But the one advert that brings both of these rules together and delivers content totally engaging for its audience, which makes you stop in your tracks and feel the message in my books is the ‘Team Talk’, the official advert of the Organising Committee for Rugby World Up 2015.

By Bridget Leonard, Marketing Executive

England logo

This entry was posted in B2C, Brand awareness, Target audience, tagged Communication, Video advertising, Engagement and posted on September 10, 2015


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