As the Six Nations got underway last weekend new Rugby Football Union (RFU) sponsor BMW leveraged the excitement around the England rugby team by rolling out additional elements to its multi-platform ‘Sweet Chariot’ campaign.
Building on the Twickenham-based team’s ‘Swing Low,, Sweet Chariot’ anthem, a home crowd favourite that was originally an historic American negro spiritual, the RFU’s official automotive partner launched an online video featuring members of the England squad singing Sweet Chariot.
The narrative features players and fans and a BMW Sweet Chariot fan limo-taxi and boasts 30,000 YouTube views to date.
It closes with the tagline ‘You could win a lift home in a BMW Sweet Chariot’ which promotes the German car marquee’s competition which gives 10 fans the chance to win chauffeured post match lifts home from Twickenham Stadium and drives people online to the competition site at www.rfu.com/bmwsweetchariots.
This lead gathering programme’s website asks fans simply to provide their relevant contact details in order to be in with a chance to win a lift home in a chauffeur driven BMW X5 (with room for four passengers).
The campaign is also running across Twitter, where users simply need to use the campaign’s #SweetChariot hashtag.
Winners will be selected randomly on match days.
This fan-focused element of the partnership actually began with England’s series of Autumn Internationals in late 2012, which also saw the unveiling of the new BMW Lounge in the West Car Park at Twickenham. This branded space aims to offer fans a premium pre- and post-match experience spanning hospitality and even the chance to meet England players.
The RFU partnership itself was originally unveiled late in 2012 with a launch event attended by England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster, backs coach Andy Farrell and former England fly half and current operations director Rob Andrew.
Held at BMW Group UK’s Brand Academy and centre for excellence at Wokefield Park, this event focused on the RFU’s BMW-backed plans for the BMW Performance Academy programme. The England coaching team has selected 30 young players for an individually tailored rugby progression coaching scheme in tandem with access to BMW mentors, advanced driver training and work experience.
The objective is to combine elite England coaching with BMW expertise to meet the development needs of young players and will provide them with a tailored future performance pathway.
This RFU partnership is the next phase of BMW’s UK-sport focused marketing strategy, which follows its London 2012 work.
The brand once again team up with agency Synergy, which developed BMW’s extensive Olympic activity which included the award winning social media campaign ‘Golden BMW’ (which recently scooped the European Sponsorship Association (ESA) Award for Social Media Activation) which saw a fleet of Golden BMWs tour the UK along the Olympic Torch Relay route a day ahead of the Relay to capitalise on the anticipation of the Flame’s arrival.
This integrated 70-day campaign, led by social platforms and local/national PR, encouraged consumers fans to ‘Spot, Snap and Share’ photos of the vehicles for a chance to win tickets to the Games.
Its results included boosting BMW UK Facebook fans by 15% and helped drive more than 50,000 people to visit BMW dealerships.
Indeed, local dealerships are also playing a role in the new Sweet Chariots RFU campaign – including driving participation in the competition by highlighting the promotion across their own digital platforms and social media sites.
BMW was not the only brand to leverage rugby assets as the Six Nations got underway on 2 February. Other tournament and team sponsors – including fellow RFU partner IBM and Six Nations title sponsors RBS also launched new initiatives to tap in to the excitement.
Some of these also mark the beginning of the sponsorship activation build-up to the 2015 Rugby World Cup and many have a strong digital flavour to ensure they can live, evolve and flourish online between now and 2015.
The 2013 tournament also saw the Six Nations organisers sign a deal with YouTube that sees match highlights and exclusive content made available for online viewers worldwide for the next three seasons.
RFU/BMW Competition Website
BMW Competition Website
Online Film YouTube
BMW Rugby Twitter Site
Sample Dealer Facebook Page (Westerly Exeter)
RFU YouTube Channel