Brains supports Welsh rugby at the right time

Campaign: Sponsorship of the Welsh Rugby Team

Client: Brains

PR team: Golley Slater PR (Cardiff)

Timescale: June 2004-ongoing

Budget: £35,000

In June 2004, brewer Brains became the first Welsh company to sponsor its national rugby team. The deal was part of its overall marketing strategy: 'More positive thinking from Brains'. Objectives

To create awareness of Brains as the sponsor of the team and a major supporter of the sport. To raise awareness of the brand.

Strategy and Plan

Retained agency Golley Slater PR invited journalists from national and Welsh regional newspapers, as well as trade titles, to meet in a Brains pub, after which they were taken by boat to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, where a 30ft replica of the new national rugby team shirt had been hung.

As they approached the stadium, a question-mark banner obscuring the sponsor's name was removed to reveal Brains' logo.

In the build-up to the autumn internationals, coverage of the brand was generated thanks to commemorative ale Bread of Heaven, launched to thank fans for their support, and branded 'velotaxis', introduced to give supporters free rides on match days.

During the Six Nations tournament, photo opportunities were staged with Brains giving the Welsh team and supporters a strong send-off to Rome from Cardiff Airport, and sending cases of beer to Scotland.

The PR team faced a challenge when Wales played France, where there was a ban on alcohol advertising. To combat this, 'Brains' was replaced on the rugby shirts with 'Brawn' - an exclusive of the shirt was given to the News of the World before its unveiling at a team press conference before the France game.

After Wales had lifted the Six Nations winner's trophy, Golley Slater and Brains played host to journalists at Brains' flagship bar The Yard, now known as the Grand Slam.

Measurement and Evaluation

Since June 2004, almost 200 articles have appeared in the Western Mail, Swansea Evening Post and the Daily Mirror, among others.

Elsewhere, BBCi, ITV, Red Dragon FM, Radio 1 and Radio Five Live also covered the story. Editorial promotions received more than 8,000 entries.

All coverage was evaluated in-house.

Results

Since last autumn, spontaneous awareness of the Brains brand has risen from nine per cent to 25 per cent, while prompted Brains brand awareness has increased from 13 per cent to 37 per cent.

The Western Mail news editor Paul Carey says: 'Brains really hit the nail on the head. Brains beer and Welsh rugby are the perfect fit.'

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