CAMPAIGN: Locking arms with the WWE phenomenom

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is the largest professional wrestling promoter in the world, operating under three brands: RAW, SmackDown! and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW).

Campaign WWE2006
Client World Wrestling Entertainment International
PR Team Outside Organisation
Timescale January-December 2006
Budget Undisclosed

Having spawned the likes of Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker, today the US-based outfit focuses on pay-per-view TV extravaganzas, the internet and live stadium events. Last January, the sports entertainment group hired the Outside Organisation to push its presence in the UK and Ireland.

Objectives
To support the interests of WWE International, develop existing media relationships and maximise coverage around the new WrestleMania Revenge Tour, which hit the UK last April.

Strategy and Plan
Owing to the global scale of WWE’s activities, the primary task was to corral the glut of information available. This included raising awareness of over 250 house shows, two UK tours – in April and October – and 14 pay-per-view events being broadcast throughout 2006 on Sky Box Office. Specific emphasis was on the big four televised events: Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam and the Survivor Series.

The PR team focused on WWE’s base market of niche, kids and men’s media, then branched out into the national press. This was achieved through monthly media talent tours.

In January, three ‘Divas’ – female wrestlers, – came to the UK for a two-day publicity spree that involved photoshoots and interviews with FHM and Radio 1’s JK and Joel Chart show.

Current WWE Champion John Cena also visited the UK, appearing on BBC2 children’s programme Mighty Truck of Stuff.

The PR team gave news and interviews for the Sun Online and the Daily Star’s regular wrestling slots, targeting other WWE enthusiasts like Rav Singh at the News of the World.

This was supported by a number of competitions to win tour tickets and merchandise. Pre-teen magazine Rampage asked readers to design their own wrestler, while Virgin Radio ran a competition to fly winners out to SummerSlam in Boston.

Measurement and Evaluation
Coverage in areas that WWE had not previously reached included various guest interviews and promotions on Kerrang! Radio, Virgin Radio’s Christian O’Connell Show, and MTV, plus photoshoots, phone interviews and competitions with Nuts magazine.

As a result of taking one of Loaded’s journalists on the April tour, the PR team scored a feature in both the print and online versions of the magazine.

Results
The increased awareness boosted pay-per-view takeup for televised shows in the UK, while the two domestic tours were a complete sell out. WWE was so pleased with the outcome that it renewed its contract with the Outside Organisation until December 2007.

Tom O’Malley, senior editor at Panini, which published the now defunct Rampage, says the magazine’s regular wrestling profiles, features and competitions were hugely popular with readers because ‘they’re boys and Rampage was billed as the ultimate action magazine.’

He adds that the Outside Organisation was good at supporting feature ideas. ‘Basically they were pretty much up for anything’.

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