Now as my colleagues and clients know I’m a mad rugby fan and with England playing host to the Rugby World Cup (RWC) in 2015, combined with the fact I’m getting married, it’s going to be a year to remember! After getting over the initial excitement of the tournament being held on home turf, my work brain clicked in and my thinking turned to how brands can benefit from the RWC?

Some of you may not know that the RWC is the third largest sporting event in the World*, and after looking at the brand impact that the Olympics 2012 had on the nation, I’m hoping for a similar buzz, especially as England could potentially be the winners. In terms of timing the RWC kicks off on the 18th September and runs to the 31st October, so there’s an opportunity to run activity after the summer occasion where we know that certain category sales drop off the cliff.

So how can brands benefit from the RWC and create excitement within their category to drive sales and awareness?

Well we know that if you’re not an official sponsor then you’re limited, but you don’t have to spend silly amounts of your marketing budget to become a sponsor for your brand to benefit from the event. We’ve seen this done this year with the FIFA World Cup in Rio, with the likes of McCoy’s, Kellogg’s, Doritos and Pringles to name a few.

The brands I’ve mentioned didn’t fork out to become an official sponsor they were just clever and creative and most importantly ensured that their promotion did not break the strict laws laid down by FIFA. There are a number of ambush marketing opportunities for brands to become associated with the RWC from partnering with an England rugby player to front your promotional activity, to running a rugby prize giveaway on-pack promotion.

Back in 2011 McCoy’s actually launched two limited edition pun-based rugby flavours; ‘Pickled Scrumion’ and ‘Ruck Of Ribs’, which featured an on-pack promotion for a road trip to New Zealand and 10% off at Sportsdirect.com. McCoy’s reported uplift in sales of 23% through the strong sales of the limited edition flavours.

Now, like most rugby fans I can be found with a group of mates either at my rugby club, pub or at a friend’s house watching the game. As with most sporting events the RWC creates opportunities for brands to activate in both on trade and off trade activity. The on trade market is usually dominated by the big beer brands such as Guinness and Greene King which both have a traditional history with rugby due to the target audience. However it’s not just the beer and alcohol brands that can take advantage of this opportunity, snacking and soft drink brands should also consider being involved. You may think that I’m talking about this prematurely but I can assure you that retailers and other brands will be thinking about how to capitalise on the event now.

So if you’re interested in delivering activation linked to the RWC, then please give Corporate Innovations a call and we’d be delighted to share our experience and innovative, creative ideas with you.  *Deloitte Report - Potential economic impact of the Rugby World Cup on a Host Nation