The RWC is a truly global event with coverage reaching the four corners of the world and represents a perfect opportunity for companies to promote themselves. Tom Housden, Senior Account Executive at Storm Communications, take a look at the latest PR, marketing and sponsorship stories, for what is billed as the biggest rugby tournament ever.

The 2015 Rugby World Cup (RWC) is well under way, kicking off with a win for host nation England against a spirited Fiji side at the home of rugby on Friday night. A record 2.45 million tickets have been allocated for the 48 matches, over 400,000 international visitors are expected to descend on the UK and billions will be watching worldwide.

Samsung, an official partner of the Rugby Football Union, have pulled out all stops and their marketing campaign features comedian Jack Whitehall being schooled in rugby by a who’s who of England legends, including Jason Leonard, Maggie Alphonsi, Lawrence Dallaglio, Martin Johnson and Jason Robinson. The five ‘episodes’ are themed around fundamental attributes of rugby that can also be translated as key components of Samsung technology, such as ‘power’ and ‘speed’. Samsung have managed to incorporate important brand messaging with a series of comedic and engaging clips – quite simply this is one of the best RWC focused campaigns.

What makes this competition so valuable for companies is not only the number of people watching, but their wholesale acceptance of digital.  Even since the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the digital world has come on leaps and bounds and a recent survey found the average rugby fan under 35 has 4.6 devices in their household, giving brands a huge chance to exploit a wide range of platforms.

O2, England Rugby sponsor since 1995, has recognised this and created a truly integrated campaign. As part of the strategy, they have created content that centres on the England team and encourages fans to continue the conversation across all social media platforms using the #WearTheRose and #CarryThemHome hashtags.

In addition, O2 has also rebranded its 377 shops with the rose logo and hung 50,000 England rugby jerseys on giant washing lines around the UK. Despite not being an official sponsor of the tournament itself, O2 has not been restricted in terms of brand visibility in the run up to the RWC. Through utilising both traditional and digital methods, O2 has managed to overcome the constraints of not being an official RWC sponsor and have been one the most discernible brands at this year’s tournament.

It is clear to see that an integrated approach is key to promoting yourself, using the RWC as a platform.  The advances in the digital sphere have shaped the 2015 RWC campaigns and this trend will continue well into the future.

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