Leveraging the Rugby World Cup, All Blacks shirt sponsor AIG (American International Group) kicked off its tournament-led campaign when the team assembled on London’s South Bank for the launch of the Haka 360° Experience.
The financial brand, the major global sponsor of the All Blacks, hosted a live event to launch the Haka 360° Experience: an app which uses 360-degree film to ensure the viewer has a genuine experience of being on the pitch with the All Blacks during the pre-match haka.
An impressive line up of current NZRU stars – including Kieran Read, Wyatt Crockett, Aaron Smith, Liam Messam, TJ Perenara, Sam Cane and Codie Taylor – were on-hand to launch the Haka 360° Experience Event at AIG Touchline.
The players arrived to a Powhiri – a traditional Maori welcome performed by London Maori Group Ngati Ranana – before performing the haka itself.
At the launch event, All Blacks’ flanker Liam Messam commented: ‘Performing the haka is a huge source of pride for the All Blacks – it unites us as a team and creates an energy that we take into the game. To be able to share that feeling with our fans means a lot to the players.’
Rugby fans can visit the AIG Touchline on the South Bank in London throughout the September/October tournament where they can face the Haka 360˚ Experience in a fully immersive setting.
For those not able to make the live outdoor event, fans can get a matching at-home viewing experience through a custom made Haka 360˚ headset and AIG is giving away more than 1,000 limited edition headsets through the RWC..
Rugby lovers and All Blackss supporters can claim a free, limited edition Haka 360˚ headset (while stocks last) at www.aig.com/ haka360headset
Alternatively, fans can build their own viewer using freely available schematics at Google Cardboard.
And for those unable to win, or unwilling to build, there is a mass market app version available for smart phones.
Designed for smartphones , the app itself is available via www.aig.com/haka360, as well as via the App Store and Google Play.
In addition to the player-led launch event, the app is also promoted across AIG digital platforms – including a ‘Making Of’ web video posted on AIG’s YouTube channel.
And it was heavily supported, promoted and shared across social platforms too.
— AIG Rugby (@AIGRugby) September 13, 2015
— AIG Rugby (@AIGRugby) September 11, 2015
— AIG Rugby (@AIGRugby) September 16, 2015
— AIG Rugby (@AIGRugby) September 20, 2015
‘This electrifying world first experience of being transported onto the rugby field with the team is not to be missed,’ commented AIG global head of sponsorship Daniel Glantz.
‘We wanted to bring fans closer to the All Blacks and what better way to do that than to harness the power of 360 degree video technology to bring them face to face with the legendary haka. The video enables users to look anywhere and control their own experience; allowing them to truly feel like they have taken their place on the field with the All Blacks.’
While New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew said: ‘The Haka 360˚ Experience is an amazing opportunity for All Blacks fans and rugby enthusiasts all over the world to see what it is like to face the power of the haka. It’s a fantastic innovation to bring fans one step closer to the team.”’
The campaign has been developed with agency Octagon and its success is being evaluated in harness with Repucom.
Other tactical aspects of AIG’s Rugby World Cup leverage plan around its All Blacks sponsorship include several individual market ad campaigns for specific products and services through the September/October tournament period – such as this travel insurance TVC in France,
and this car insurance spot in Ireland.
These country-specific campaigns further demonstrate just how global the All Blaacks have become as a brand and that sponsoring the NZRU can genuinely be a worldwide marketing play.
This isn’t the first virtual reality led activation at this year’s Rugby World Cup – others include Samsung’s ‘School Of Rugby 360 Degree Video’ leveraging its England Rugby sponsorship (see case study) –
but it is one of the best.
The objective, as is the case with most other contemporary virtual reality experiences, is to bring fans closers to the team (and the game of rugby) than ever before.
AIG is almost three years into its current NZR sponsorship deal.
The AIG All Blacks jersey partnership obviously provides brand exposure – indeed, it has driven plenty of exposure not only on the pitch and at events, but also through other NZR campaigns around RWC2015 such as Steinlager’s Originals’ (see case study), Air New Zealand’s ‘Men In Black’ (see case study) and ‘Adidas’ ‘Force Of Black’ (see case study).
But AIG global head of sponsorships Danny Glantz says it only works because it is a good fit in terms of brand values, geographic and demographic reach and aligned business strategies.
According to Glantz, AIG’s partnership with NZR is built on shared values and positioning: resliance, following adversity with success, valuing tenacity, and dedication to being leaders in their fields.
He also highlights the fact that the NZR partnership offers AIG a powerful opportunity to tell its story of strength and teamwork, and to engage employees and customers in new, exciting ways.
Rugby’s growth rate in many of AIG’s established and emerging markets is another factor in the brand/property fit.
As well as the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (in association with New Zealand Post) new All Blacks jersey-shaped coin and stamp.
This exposure also helps battle back against All Blacks ambush activity – which for RWC 2015 is even coming from rival financial brands such as ANZ’s ‘Dream Big’ (see case study).
AIG Haka 360 Website:
AIG Rugby Twitter:
New Zealand Rugby: