Heineken’s integrated campaign leveraging their sponsorship of the New Zealand Rugby World Cup is focused on the unwritten code of values in rugby union: respect, sportsmanship, loyalty and passion.
The beer giant’s fourth Rugby World Cup sponsorship campaign (following its work in South Africa in 1995, Australia in 2003 and France in 2007), explores and praises what it sees as the unique set of sporting values inherent in rugby.
Heineken’s worldwide rights include logo use, designations in promotional tie-ins, programme presence, pouring rights around stadia at all official Rugby World Cup outlets, and most digital content rights to use across social media channels.
Initially launched with an above-the-line phase led by a TVC called ‘This is the Game’. The TV work, was developed with Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam, is light-hearted in approach and comes in 60’, 30’ and 10’ second spots.
The film aims to bring to life the ‘The Code’, for both players and fans and blends feature match footage, fans in stadiums and pubs supporting their teams and singing. But while the creative is careful to include a fan backing each of the world’s major rugby nations so that the one ad can be used in multiple markets, Heineken hasn’t managed to avoid fan stereotypes (the Scottish fan dances a jig in a tartan kilt).
Of course, despite the competitive passion, Heineken unites fans in a spirit of conviviality, sociability and mutual respect afterwards. Perhaps an indirect connection with the beer brand’s ‘Enjoy Heineken Responsibly message.
The brand also ran a local, ‘sober taxis’ responsible drinking initiative in Auckland in collaboration with Alert Taxis. In addition to on-taxi, in-stadia and fanzone presence, the partners printed 100,000 safe//sober driver cards to distribute on the streets.
Other above-the-line elements include print and outdoor work. But the more interesting phase of Heinkene’s work is its branded content – centered on the beer brand’s rugby ambassadors: former England captain and host Will Carling, New Zealand’s Zinzan Brooke, South Africa’s Gary Teichman, former Welsh forward Scott Quinnell and Australia’s most capped full back Matt Burke and Irish centre Rob Henderson.
Heineken, a worldwide partner and the official beer of the international tournament, is creating a series of eight light-hearted videocasts. These short films will explore ambassador predictions and opinions, stories, performance analysis and a debate on ‘The Code’.
The short films start shooting in London in late August and will continue on a weekly basis culminating in the Final Show on 23 October in Auckland. They will be hosted on Heineken’s YouTube channel and Facebook page and will be released through social and digital media throughout the competition.
The ambassadors will also participate in media events in their local markets to promote Heineken and the brand’s sponsorship of the Tournament.
Following its innovative use of social media – particular Twitter and mobile apps – to activate its UEFA Champions League Final rights, the Rugby World Cup sees Heineken focus on social media as global delivery platforms for its exclusive branded content.
This kind of insider expertise and brand created content aims to demonstrate the brand’s credentials as a true rugby fan and as an enabler of informed rugby conversation.
And as a supporter that understands and promotes The Code, it hopes rugby fans around the world will see Heineken as a brand that shares their principles and is a guardian of their game.
Heineken will be hoping that fans feel this way about their brand, after all, with the world cup and the Heineken Cup in Europe it is reported to have invested £100m plus in the sport over the last 20 years.
This investment is part of Heineken’s strategy to concentrate on fewer, larger and high-quality properties to get the maximum benefit from our business investments.