Harrison Carloss

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It's only ruck and roll: How brands are celebrating the Rugby World Cup

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TV/Cinema Creative
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With fans piling in from over 170 countries, commercial revenues from the 2019 World Cup in Japan are expected to bring in something like $449 million. So as rugby union’s quadrennial showpiece draws to a close, here’s how just some of the brands celebrated the tournament. 

Let’s kick off with ITV’s ‘Rise of the World Cup’ campaign, a blend of live-action and stunning Japanese Manga-style animation. In it, dreaming rugby fans see giant humanoid robots running through Japanese city streets and a Street Fighter 2-like computer game featuring players from the tournament. Even the music track is inspired by Japanese Anime and performed by American rapper and songwriter Jaden Smith (son of Will).

For all the raw emotion, blood, sweat and tears of the game – and that’s just the crowd – ITN went one-up in techie terms by producing a live TV ad capturing the real-time reactions of rugby fans from four matches using O2’s next-generation 5G network. The footage was then sent back to ITN studios in London via O2’s next-generation 5G network, where it was shared as a live ad across the network, to showcase what 5G is capable of ahead of its impending launch this month.

Heineken’s first try at a Global Rugby sponsorship commercial had confused non-fans watching rugby surrounded by ecstatic supporters, thinking the game looks just too complicated for them to enjoy. But hey – with a Heineken in their hand and an excited crowd around them, even non-fans discover that the enjoyment of RWC is about sharing a game and a Heineken as much as what happens on the field.

From veteran shirt sponsor O2 came a stirring video that converted the England squad into samurai warriors clad in white armour bearing the red rose emblem that every England rugby player’s shirt has carried for the past 24 years. Launched at the previous World Cup, ‘Wear The Rose’ now means ‘Be Their Armour’. The hope was that by wearing the rose, supporters would protect the squad.

Guinness tackled their game plan with a nicely nostalgic approach to the game to give us a documentary-style TV commercial saluting Japan’s first ever female rugby squad with the story of Liberty Fields, a team who defied the odds during the 1989 Tokyo Rugby World Cup. With no coach, doctor or support, the team broke down social conventions and fought for gender equality.

Confused.com took a philosophical perspective for its ITV World Cup coverage sponsorship. Its nine visually arresting sponsorship idents featured traditional Japanese cultural concepts including ‘Wa’ – harmony, ‘Nintai’ – to endure or persevere, and ‘Danshari’ – decluttering. The ads aimed to showcase how Confused.com can ‘bring clarity to consumers, helping them make more confident decisions’. Confused? Definitely.

Vodafone Ireland’s idea was to get the entire country behind their team in preparation for the tournament with the release of its ‘Everyone In’ ad for the latest phase of the brand’s ‘Team Of Us’ sponsorship of Irish Rugby, launched ahead of the team leaving for Japan. Created by Dublin agency JWT Folk, the spot captures the way momentum builds in the run-up to the championships, creating a rallying call for Irish fans to show their support for the team in green.

As for the mighty All Blacks, their entry in the games received some serious air support when Air New Zealand created a new safety video featuring the country’s national team. Titled ‘Air All Blacks’, the video took viewers behind the scenes of a fictitious new airline discussing ideas for a safety video. Air New Zealand said the two iconic Kiwi brands came together to show the world just how much rugby is in its DNA.

As the tournament continues, we’ll be looking forward to seeing more winning examples before the final on the 2nd of November.

 

Article originally posted the Harrison Carloss blog.