CAMPAIGNS: Carling gives Heineken a lift for the Cup - Sponsorship

Premium lager Heineken has long been associated with rugby in Europe and throughout the world. However, this year’s Rugby World Cup is sponsored by Guinness, and the England team is being sponsored by Tetley, while Heineken is not one of the official sponsors.

Premium lager Heineken has long been associated with rugby in

Europe and throughout the world. However, this year’s Rugby World Cup is

sponsored by Guinness, and the England team is being sponsored by

Tetley, while Heineken is not one of the official sponsors.



But the company wanted to maintain its links with the sport and came up

with an innovative sponsorship campaign - Sponsoring You.



The idea, devised by Heineken marketing staff, was that instead of

sponsoring the tournament, a team or individual players, activities

devised by Heineken would sponsor drinkers to the tune of pounds 5

million. The concept also tied in with the brand’s ’How refreshing, how

Heineken’ strapline.



Objectives



To create a high-profile, national news story to generate awareness of

Heineken’s Sponsoring You campaign.



Strategy and Plan



A news story was needed to link Heineken to the Rugby World Cup to pave

the way for additional marketing, PR and sales activity over the

following three months.



Julia Carling agreed to front the campaign, donating her fee to

Breakthrough Breast Cancer. Although she was an obvious choice, because

of her links to rugby, her surname was understandably a problem.

Heineken’s retained PR agency Communique PR came up with the idea of

changing her name to Julia Heineken for the length of the promotion.



Julia said she would use her new surname for all TV appearances,

although Communique PR settled for calling her Julia H after a

discussion with the ITC and with the switchboard at the station she

worked for, VH-1, so that it could explain the change to any confused

viewers.



National news desks were approached the week before the photo

launch.



Once the story hit the nationals, marketing and media press, the Sunday

papers and weekly titles like OK! and Hello were targeted.



Since the launch, Communique PR has run competitions in the Guardian

Guide and 14 regional newspapers. It has designed sponsorship packs

featuring inflatable goal posts, beer and seat reservers for use by home

viewers as prizes, as well as two round-the-world tickets to watch rugby

from a warmer destination, or escape it all together.



There was even more activity in Cardiff, the host city of the World

Cup.



Houses and cars were branded, and a ’refreshing’ rugby competition,

where the men’s and women’s teams from the university played against

each other, was held.



An e-mail address where drinkers can send their suggestions for

sponsorship activities has been swamped. One suggestion came from a

rugby team which claimed that unless it received funding for new kits,

the players would have to play naked. Challenged by the PR team, the

rugby players agreed to pose nude, with pictures appearing in the Sun

and the team’s local newspaper, the Manchester Evening News.



Measurement and Evaluation



Coverage was received in the Sun, Mirror, Star and the front page of the

Daily Telegraph and the Express. The story also attracted attention on

TV and radio. The Big Breakfast and Chris Evans covered the story

extensively during their morning paper reviews.



Once the tournament wraps up in early November, evaluation will include

consumer surveys, research into the brand’s positioning against other

sponsors and analysis of the media.



Results



A simple idea, well executed, which will add huge value to Heineken’s

sponsorship, and may leave official sponsors feeling they have missed a

trick. Chris Evans was even inspired to ask his Virgin radio listeners

to call in and let him know who’d come up with ’the best PR stunt

ever’.



Client: Heineken

PR Team: Communique PR

Campaign: Julia Heineken Sponsoring You launch (Rugby World Cup)

Time-scale: September 1999

Budget: pounds 5 million for sponsorship, part of ongoing retainer work.



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