Canterbury key targets widen with rugby boom

The success of the England World Cup rugby squad has prompted rugby apparel brand Canterbury of New Zealand to broaden its media target beyond rugby titles in a pre-season campaign.

Men’s magazines have become a realistic target as rugby has become ‘more fashionable and credible’ after the World Cup win, according to Canterbury marketing manager Mostyn Thomas.

Canterbury’s in-house PR team has focused on core rugby press since it launched in the UK, but Thomas said sales growth prompted it to hire Bite Communications following a five-way pitch to expand its media scope with an initial four-month project.

The campaign will cover the back-to-school and pre-season training period as the key purchasing time for training gear, body armour and mouth guards. It will use product placement and look for opportunities to use Canterbury sponsored rugby players, including England prop Matt Stevens, All-Black legend Christian Cullen, and Irish players Gordon D’Arcy and David Humphreys.

‘Canterbury is a very big brand with rugby fans,’ said Bite account director Joss Hastings. ‘But because there is so much interest in the sport following England’s World Cup triumph, we can look more at mainstream titles and the fashion sections of lads’ magazines.’

She added that the increased interest meant it would also seek TV coverage in programmes with a strong 16 to 24-year-old audience.

Hastings said Canterbury will even look to titles ranging from Good Housekeeping to Bella to reach mothers concerned about providing their children with the correct training equipment.

While Canterbury’s focus remains primarily on rugby, it is also building its clothing ranges for other sports, including golf and sailing, and is moving into luggage and items such as laptop holders.

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