As part of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, the Sydney 7s event returns to Sydney in January 2018 over the Australia Day long weekend, complete with a new brand identity, creative strategy and media “Get your Game On” campaign, created by Sydney-based creative agency Digilante.
With the 2017 Sydney 7s a sell-out event, the challenge for 2018 was to carry that momentum into the third year, defining Sydney’s place as the new ‘go-to’ destination on the HSBC Sevens World Series calendar. With Rugby competing with other summer sporting calendar events, including The Ashes and The Australian Open, generating positive conversation and awareness around Sydney 7s was an important part of the creative brief.
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Digilante saw an opportunity to broaden the appeal of the event to a
wider, non rugby audience by focusing on the unique fan experience
Sydney 7s can offer. Sydney7s is a fast-paced, fun, easy-to-watch
tournament that sees families and people of all ages, wear fancy dress
to men’s and women’s Rugby matches, culminating in a final game, with
points also being recorded in the global 7s series.
Says Eric O’Brien, executive creative director and co-founder, Digilante: “The
time is right to refresh the event personality and re-position Sydney
7s as an international summer sports festival that can appeal to the
next generation of fans and future participants.
The new identity
and supporting creative campaign have been created to reflect the fun
festival feel and inclusiveness of a summer event, and to convey the
energy and buzz that surrounds the games. Sydney 7s is a stadium-sized
party, full of vibrancy, spontaneity and fun, both on and off the field.
Says O’Brien: “Previously
Sydney 7s focused on core Rugby audiences using more traditional
messaging and mediums. However, sales statistics from previous years
showed us that millennials and first-time Rugby event attendees
accounted for over 50% of the overall event sales, a wonderful
opportunity to showcase 7s to new audiences.
“As such, we wanted
to go beyond the usual on field, gameplay focus and put more emphasis on
the young, fun, festival vibe. We set out to give Sydney 7s a bold,
graphic look and gave it totally different personality to set it apart
from the other, more traditional sporting events. With our new brand and
communications, we set out to maximise the events social and digital
engagement – a big opportunity for reach that wasn’t effectively
utilised in previous years.”
Research for the Rugby Australia
brand project uncovered vital insights around the growth potential for
7s Rugby in Australia. Compared to the traditional XV form of Rugby, the
7s format is much easier to understand, has more running play, passing
and scoring and as such is more accessible to watch. Also, and most
importantly, with 7s now an Olympic sport available to men and women,
the game is set to broaden Rugby’s appeal to a new generation of school
kids, and Millennials and in turn, promote future growth.
this in mind, Digilante positioned Sydney 7s as a young, fun and more
spontaneous sporting event, and focused on the concept of
‘transformation’ for both Sydney as a destination and the colourful,
party experience at the event – they described this as ‘The 7s Effect’.
The campaign shows fans and players alike transforming from the ordinary
to express themselves through colour, bold moves, and having fun, with
more emphasis on the fan experience as opposed to just the gameplay.
Digilante planned a communications strategy, designed to reach both
existing and new audiences online with relevant messaging and content
via sporting and lifestyle channels.
Alongside a tactical mix of
digital display, SEM, online radio and social media, Digilante also
formed a partnership with local content creators TippyTappy Sports who
produced a bespoke video series for social media entitled “How to
Sevens”. The 3 episode series focuses on speed, skills and fans while
taking a light-hearted look at rugby 7s and providing exclusive footage
of the Australian 7s players in training. Using comedy in this way is a
bold new approach for Rugby Australia and an important step in creating
awareness and cut through in a highly cluttered media landscape. The
release of episode one amassed over 160 thousand unique views in NSW
alone, far and away surpassing the average engagement and view rate for
Rugby Sevens social media content.
Says Adam Freier, head of marketing
and digital at Rugby Australia: “Digilante saw the opportunity to
make the Sydney7s tournament relevant to a new local and global
audience, and to change the focus from not only the games on the field,
but also the fun off the field. The rebrand and creative strategy for
Sydney 7s is part of a broader rebrand for all of Rugby Australia, lead
by Digilante. The rebrand represents an important new step towards a
broader national initiative designed to reinvigorate Rugby in Australia
with the introduction of new initiatives for the growth of the game at
every level, and to inspire more Australians to play and watch Rugby.”