Long term England Rugby shirt sponsor has unveiled a branded entertainment event – The O2 Official England Rugby World Cup Send-Off – that leverages not just its RFU partnership, but also its alliance with Take That and its naming rights to London’s O2 arena music venue.
The event, on 9 September, is promoted through an integrated campaign led by a new TV spot featuring both Take That and several England rugby stars.
Launched on 18 July, the ad promotes the event and the 48-hour propriety ticket booking offer for O2 customers (http://o2.uk/wtrlive) and features Take That carrying England players on their shoulders to symbolise fan support.
The commercial also features a cameo from previous England World Cup Jonny Wilkinson.
The mobile telecoms operator is co-hosting the official send-off for the team which will be fronted by Take That (and a 48-piece orchestra) playing live to 14,500 rugby and music fans.
‘Wear the Rose Live’ is a RWC15 linked event that aims to help to drum up fan support for the home team.
It will also be attended by the England squad, coaches and management and will include appearances and live player interviews.
The event promotion campaign is also being teased and then amplified across social media – particularly Twitter.
— O2 Sports (@O2sports) July 17, 2015
The campaign has been developed with agency VCCP.
‘This year O2 is calling upon the entire country to Wear the Rose and get behind the England Rugby Team, to demonstrate the power of support,’ declares O2 marketing director Nina Bibby.
‘Wear the Rose Live has been designed to do just that, offering 14,500 fans a once in a lifetime opportunity to send-off the team with world renowned artists Take That’.
One of the more innovative aspect of the live event itself saw O2 turn its title branded venue into
a canvas for the world’s largest projection (in terms of light output) to highlight the telecoms brand’s England Rugby partnership.
In addition to projecting both the property and the sponsor logo’s onto the building’s massive domed roof, the initiative enables fans to have their tweets projected onto the venue by using the hashtag #WearTheRose.
This activation strand will continue through the seven weeks of the Rugby World Cup – lighting up The O2 from sunset to midnight ensuring the O2 comes alive each time England plays.
Tweeters selected for projection will receive an exclusive image and Gif file of their message.
This pre-tournament send-off event sees O2 try to maximise the value of its England team sponsorship – especially considering the telco will be more limited once the tournament starts as it is not an official partner of RWC15 itself.
After all, World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper has stated that tournament rights protection legislation means that local partnerships and team sponsors do not get much of a viewing’ during the competition (although they are allowed to activate on training grounds and training kit).
The campaign continues the wider activation trend of blending entertainment genres (in this case music and sport) through commercial partnerships.
This is an approach O2 has used before for its England Rugby work.
For example, earlier in May its activation linked musician Tinie Tempah and England Rugby in a campaign that saw Tempah explores the parallels between music and sport and the stage and the pitch while spending a day with the England squad.
All these initiatives run under the ongoing, multi-phase O2 England Rugby #WearTheRose campaign: a call for fans everywhere (both individually and collectively) to get behind the England Rugby team through initiatives based around the team’s iconic rose emblem (and a digital platform at wwww.o2.co.uk/WearTheRose).
This initiative – which features the tagline ‘So show it. Wear it. Share it. #WearTheRose’ – is based on an idea that in top-level sport the power of support can be the difference between victory and defeat.
Something England Rugby coach Stuart Lancaster calls ‘that extra 10% which in the RWC15 can make all difference’.
This umbrella initiative has thus far spanned everything from July’s ‘The Power Of Support’ TV work,
to its February 2015 activity leveraging this year’s RBS 6 Nations (see case study),
2014’s work activating around England’s tour of New Zealand (see case study)
and even dating back to 2014’s 6 Nations (see case study).
O2 has been a partner of England Rugby for around 20 years and now supports England Rugby at every level of the game – from the England Rugby Elite Player Squad and the England Saxons, to England Women and O2 Touch.
The telco has activated the partnership season-by-season through a series of innovations and unique experiences (both digital and experiential) for all rugby fans as well as ensuring its own customers are offered priority access to get closer to the team.
It has offered everything from priority ticket opportunities, discounts on food, drink and merchandise at Twickenham, to one-off opportunities such as stadium tours, dining with the players, taking home the match ball or being a mascot on match day.
Furthermore, the ‘O2 BlueRoom’ branded space is an attraction and utility for O2 customers on match day, where fans can enjoy pre-match entertainment and hang out with the players after the game.
O2’s ‘Inside Line’ activation strand provides supporters with weekly insights into the England camp, while its participatory ‘O2 Touch’ programme for men and women of all ages offers a rugby-led fitness platform (see www.rfu.com/o2touch).
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