FRIDAY 18 MAR 2016 12:15 PM


Corporate partnerships between sports and alcohol brands are nothing new. However recent years have increasingly seen moves to diversify this traditional relationship, moving away from tactics such as simple placement of the logos involved in the sponsorship.

While many people love to play rugby, many more are as content to enjoy the game from the comfort of a warm pub, with a beer in hand. This second demographic is what Heineken are eager to capture, through the launch of a new digital portal and video campaign.

In a campaign led by Dublin-based creative agency Rothco, how fans interact both with the event and with each other is the main focus. It aims to bring supporters of different clubs together, spreading the message that the game of rugby is about unity and co-operation – not just rivalry.

Named the Heineken Rugby Club, the campaign launched on 16 March with a video, based on the importance of fans from opposing teams working together to overcome a problem when the beer taps run out at a pub. It ends with Irish and English rugby fans singing Tom Jones' Welsh classic ‘Delilah’, being rewarded with drinks when the beer once again flows.

In the second phase of the campaign, the Heineken Rugby Club website is currently showcasing in-depth stories from some of rugby’s biggest fans, provide detailed profiles of the cities hosting upcoming rugby games, and highlight the best pubs from which fans can enjoy the game.

This more interactive approach taken by sponsoring corporate firms has become an integral part of many sporting partnerships.

In 2014, Emirates, in partnership for the FIFA World Cup, released a promotional video featuring footballing legends Cristiano Ronaldo and Pelé aboard an Emirates flagship A380 airliner. September 2015 saw telecommunications company O2 pledge support for England during the Rugby World Cup, through changing the letter O in its branding to a red rose, across 377 of its store fronts.

With the Heineken Rugby Club launch coinciding with the 2016 Six Nations tournament, this latest campaign encourages those involved in rugby to become part of a more widely integrated community.