RUGBY IN INDIA by Zz Productions for Indian Rugby Football Union

RUGBY IN INDIA

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Industry Sports and Health Clubs, Gyms
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market India
Agency Zz Productions
Released September 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Travel, Tourism & Leisure
Advertiser: INDIAN RUGBY FOOTBALL UNION
Product/Service: SPORT PROMOTION
Executive Director: Pooja Chaudhri (ZZEBRA PR)
Group Head: Neha Parab (ZZEBRA PR)
Senior Client Executive: Rakesh Rajendran (ZZEBRA PR)
Client Executive: Arvind Kashyap (ZZEBRA PR)
Media placement: Health & Fitness feature story - Men's Health Magazine - 01 March 2010
Media placement: Online Media - www.sportzpower.com - 19 March 2010
Media placement: Interview with former international player - Sports Star Magazine - 16 April 2010
Media placement: Press Release - The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Indian Express, The Asian Age, etc. - 17 May 2010
Media placement: Electronic Media - NDTV 24x7, DD News, CNN-IBN, etc. - 01 June 2010
Media placement: Team Profile Lifestyle Story - Delhi Times - 05 June 2010
Media placement: Magazine Cover Story - Men's Health magazine - 01 July 2010
Media placement: Coach Interview - DNA newspaper - 22 August 2010
Media placement: Feature Story in national magazine - The Week magazine - 05 September 2010
Media placement: Press Release - Hindu, The Times of India, etc. - 16 November 2010

Summary of the Campaign
Indian Rugby Football Union (IRFU) initiates the mission to make rugby in India more popular, in the lead-up to the Delhi Commonwealth Games (CWG), October 2010. It was a mandate to get widespread media coverage and drive a huge spectator interest for CWG rugby games.

Being a cricket-crazy nation, the Indian population and media are barely interested in other sports, even global ones like soccer, tennis and golf. It is an impossible task to get sports media to acknowledge rugby, players, attend matches, let alone cover it. Worse – India’s team is ranked poorly in the world.

Big Idea - keep it simple: Capture Attention, Kindle Interest, and Sustain Momentum.
Create a vast information bank and story ideas.
Approach Sports Editors; got the Sports Journalists Federation of India to host a "Know your Rugby" session during the annual convention. First - start getting match reports, even of terrible losses. Then ride on achievements of the national women’s team. Created star players and moved to lifestyle, entertainment, health pages, and national magazines. Worked with regional media in 9 languages for deeper penetration.

Media Value crosses INR 253 million – ROI of over 100 times. Player registration across country rises. Biggest achievement – tickets for CWG2010 rugby matches sold out, evoking a national headline – "Unknown but Sold Out" – which encapsulates the immense success of this PR campaign.

The Situation
International Rugby Board (IRB), which controls the sport worldwide, wanted to propagate rugby in India leading up to CWG2010 in Delhi. The client, Indian Rugby Football Union (IRFU), represents India in IRB and is responsible for the growth of rugby and its promotion.

Being a cricket-crazy nation, no other sport gets much media mileage or catches the attention of the populace. Rugby was a non-entity for media and general awareness amongst sports lovers didn’t exist. In this dismal scenario, an effective PR campaign was imperative to create awareness and kindle interest to draw attention to Rugby and drive spectators for CWG2010.

The Goal
Goals and Objectives:
• Spreading awareness amongst media and sports lovers about rugby’s rapid growth
• Get widespread media coverage across the country to support the on-ground development programs
• Drive immense interest for spectators to watch rugby matches during CWG2010

Target Audience:
• Media – Sports, Lifestyle, Health, Entertainment, Regional: All media channels – Print, Electronic, Online – were important to spread knowledge and evoke interest in rugby through continuous coverage

Research:
• Media Perception Audit – Meetings with key Sports Editors and Reporters. Necessary to understand the existing knowledge of rugby, the mind set towards it and the enthusiasm to help grow it.

The Strategy
The Communication Strategy revolved around Educating and Engaging media across the country – in English and in the regional language. There was a conscious effort to spread the coverage beyond the sports section and move into various genres: lifestyle, health, entertainment, national magazines. This would evoke interest in rugby from a larger audience and elevate some key men and women players to star status. These icons would then become role models for the target audience, providing a huge boost to drive interest in the sport.

Capture Attention – Met with media, worked with them to inform about rapid pace of growth, arranged meetings with leading players

Kindle Interest – brainstormed with media on story ideas, updated them regularly on interesting developments, emphasised a need for their readers to know more about the sport and its players

Sustain Momentum – created stars that could be regularly featured across sections; spread coverage through multiple genres.

Execution
- The plan implemented pan-India.
- The campaign focused on CWG in October 2010.
- The majority of campaign was implemented during April-October 2010.
- The campaign ran to original plan.

Implementation:
Knowing Rugby –
• Learnt about rugby, interacted with players, created information bank, detailed story ideas

Media Relations –
• Met Sports Editors – Print, Electronic, Online
• Impressed upon them the growth of Rugby, the need for coverage despite the poor performance of the Indian team
• Worked closely for coverage during national and international tournaments
• Moved on to getting feature stories on sports pages
• Worked with non-sports Feature Editors for larger national-level stories in lifestyle sections
• Connected with regional media in 9 languages for deeper penetration
• Worked with star players to create buzz around Rugby
• Partnered with Sports Journalists Federation of India for knowledge sessions during their annual convention
• Generated additional media mileage through local media during events – training camps; national, inter-state, school-level tournaments; test matches in lead-up to CWG2010.

Documented Results
• Media Value over INR 253 million from almost zero
• Over 100 times ROI for IRFU
• Tickets for Rugby matches sold out for CWG2010
• Dramatic shift in media attitude from "we-don’t-care" to continuously tracking matches, enquiring about developments for features
• High quality Reports and Features across India in English and Regional publications –
-Feature articles on players in leading national publications like Sports Illustrated, The Week, Sports Star, Femina
- Front page stories in lifestyle supplements of The Times of India – the country’s largest newspaper, in various editions
- Cover Story with star player in Men’s Health Magazine
- Growth of rugby stories even in business dailies
- Feature stories in leading national TV news channels like NDTV 24x7, CNN IBN, Times Now, Headlines Today, Star Mazaa
- National TV channels covered rugby tournaments daily as part of sports bulletins
• IRFU ties in sponsor for schools programme