‘A New Era Begins’ As NRL 2019 Premiership Launch Campaign Looks To the Future

The rights-owner’s promotional campaign for the 2019 NRL Premiership – ‘A New Era Begins’ – sought to put the next generation of stars in the spotlight ahead of kick-off.


Launched a week ahead of the start of the new season with a hero film, the campaign’s central theme is the changing of the guard that looks set to characterise the 2019 Premiership after several legends of the game retired last year.


The cinematic spearhead spot starts with North Queensland Cowboy Jason Taumalolo preparing to shoulder the burden of his fans’ expectations and then moves through the club heartlands of all 16 men’s teams and, for the first time, the 4 women’s teams.


Running across TV and VoD, the lead spot was amplified across the NRL’s digital and social channels.




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Supporting the launch video, the campaign continues through an extended online content video series, called ‘Stories Of The New Era’ and featuring a behind-the-scenes footage and insights into players perspectives, all aimed at enabling fans to delve deeper into the narrative of the film.



While a further strand of the initiative included an editorial series on NRL.com further exploring its coded imagery.


The campaign itself rolled out a day ahead of the official season countdown and PR launch event at Bondi Beach.







The promotion, developed in harness with agency R/GA Sydney (and helmed by Palme d’Or-winning Australian director Glendyn Ivin), features an array of quintessentially Australian images and symbol.


(Ivin himself is known for powerful storytelling in film, TV and advertising – such as Puberty Blues, Safe Harbour and BBC1’s The Cry).


NRL Head of Marketing Peter Jarmain confirmed that the campaign was about looking to the future of the game.


“This season represents a pivotal year for the game. Whilst many great players have retired, a new generation of young talent is emerging, and exciting fans like never-before. We have a world class venue opening this year, that will redefine the event experience for new and existing fans from a number of clubs,” explained Jarmain.


“New concepts like Magic Round Brisbane, and the Women’s Premiership (now entering its second year), provide a vehicle to strengthen the connection with our avid fans, but importantly connect the game with new audiences. A refreshed visual brand for the Telstra Premiership, also provides a catalyst to signal this new era of the game. From a communications standpoint, we need to leverage these exciting additions, but also seek to reinforce the connection between clubs and their local communities, which is core to our competition. This campaign is one of many initiatives that will tackle this strategy.”


According to R/GA Sydney’s ‘s Executive Creative Director Craig Brooks, the work has been designed to be inclusive and to be simultaneously engaging to both hard core supporters and fringe fans.


“The NRL fanbase is divided into wildly-disparate heartlands, and our challenge was to bring their stories together, and to life,” explained Brooks.


“We created something packed full of community mythology, club subplots, and player insights…if you know what you’re looking for…but it equally stands alone as an authentic snapshot of our culture.”


“I love the energy of this campaign. Like the game itself there’s a powerful mix of poetry and raw athleticism,” added Ivin.


“Working closely with the players and their stories has lent a documentary-like feeling of intimacy. It reflects the new players stepping up and the people they play for.”


The campaign was developed for National Rugby League head of marketing Peter Jarmain, senior marketing manager Nicole Chesher and marketing manager Rita Khouri by a team at creative agency R/GA Sydney, with production by Exit Films, post production from Arc, audio post handled by Song Zu and  media by Blue 449.




This year’s new season campaign moves on from last year’s ‘This Is How We league’ initiative which took its inspiration from the culture of the modern game and what it means to fans and which focused on themes such as ‘tribalism’ and ‘egalitarian spirit’  (see case study).


The objective behind last year’s work was to unlock fan pride in league and remind them what they love about it, and help them claim it back.


This year’s approach is to move on and look forward.











R/GA Sydney



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