Leading by example

In 2016, ahead of the launch of the 2017 Lions Tour, we began work on creating the brand for Lions Dinner Series to be held ahead of the tour group departing for New Zealand in May 2017.

Having worked on the 2013 Series we were acutely aware of the many challenges faced which was compounded by the fact that both kit provider and title sponsor would be changing for this tour, something that hadn’t changed for eight years.

We created a ‘Leading the Lions’ figure that conjured up the Lions spirit, that was suitably unidentifiable and that harked back to the theme of the event series which was former leaders of the Lions. The approach insured that all restrictive challenges were met and we even put in place and revised version once the various deals were announced by shooting a similar image with a mystery player in the new kit. This has now come full circle with the promotional campaign now moving into the delivery stage with the first two events in Cardiff and Dublin already taking place with a healthy increase in table sales as well as pushing the series benchmark in terms of brand delivery.

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Roar in the New Year

A British & Irish Lions Tour is a 36-month cycle and as you enter the all-important tour year it’s key, particularly for pushing supporter tours, to make a song and dance about it. Sixty percent of tours are already sold by this time but the final forty percent are harder to shift so generating momentum is vitally important. For 2017 we initiated a countdown design to stimulate interest which was used in both animated and static form across the digital landscape (advertising, social media, EDM) as well as being backed up in print.

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Not luck for the Irish

The Irish didn’t want to leave it to luck in the autumn, with a lot of work being done on hosting the Women’s World Cup this summer, it was important for the IRFU to have a visible presence during the Women’s Autumn Internationals. We created a campaign to sit alongside the men’s tournament to generate interest and galvanise support while showing that women’s rugby in Ireland was a serious affair.

Spread across the IRFU digital channels in both animated and static format whilst being back up by big screen adverts at the Aviva Stadium and in print via the programme and local press the campaign was well received and positioned the November Series as serious entity.

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Secret squirrel (well, lion)

In a North London photo studio in early September the top-secret operation began to shoot the new Lions Jersey. Our objective was to come away with a quantity of images that could be used over the coming months once the shirt had been launched in November. There was also the fact that although we would be using a professional player as our model, we would not be able to show their identity as the make-up of the squad would not be known for six months and there are strict guidelines on player usage in terms of nationalities and prominence so these images need to get round those. The shoot, and subsequent creative treatment, allowed us to have a library of imgery fit to use in the lead up to the 2017 tour.

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Ready to roar

The British & Irish Lions 2017 tour to New Zealand is just under a year and half away, but we’ve been busy working away since last year for Lions Rugby Travel ready to launch their products to the legion of die-hard fans from the home nations who’ll be following them across the world.

Thousands of supporters had already been successfully encouraged to pay up for a priority access pass that entitled them to early access to the 30 plus packages available and we needed to produce a suite of assets fit for the launch of a product that can carry a hefty price tag north of £10k per person.

Working within the Lions Brand Guidelines we produced a 24-page brochure aimed at generating enough excitement and passion to convince the captive audience to hand over their hard earned money. Following a series of teaser communications, the customers were then mailed their Priority Pack with the objective of pushing them to head online and book their tour ahead of the masses.

A series of PDF itineraries was also produced that could be fired out to telephone callers, with the ability to link straight through for online purchase purchase should they wish to proceed.

With the initial sales period almost over, figures are up 50% on the same period in 2013 and we are now busy converting the pack for use during the general sale period.

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Eyes on the prize

By mid-October the worst case scenario had been realised and England had become the first host nation not to make it to the final stages of the Rugby World Cup.

Stuart Lancaster wasn’t the only one left with his head in hands as countless front line England sponsors were no doubt left clasping several ad campaigns that would never see the light of day and our client, England Rugby Travel, despite their name, were still very much open for business with Quarters, Semis and a Final to sell.

Luckily a few months earlier we’d had an honest discussion posing the question of what if the impossible, now not so, were to happen and had advised that all final stage branding for hotels and other events be generically branded. We’d also discussed how we should approach promoting selling packages for the final stages so when England trudged off the field in Manchester we were ready, despite being disappointed to flick the switch to promote to the home nations that had fared somewhat better.

The approach paid dividends as the tournament saw ERT have their most successful sales despite the lack of success on the field.

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Getting Rugby Ready

With Rugby World Cup 2015 just around the corner England Rugby Travel, the Official Travel Agent for the tournament, needed a campaign to engage with new and existing customers in the lead up to the event both to prompt further package sales and to build the feel good factor.

Our brief was to come up with a campaign that could be used through their digital channels and on social media which was to be based on getting supporters ‘Fan Fit’. We came up with the tongue in check approach with a series of exercises that were designed to resonate with supporters and to simulate practices that they might well come up against during the tournament like jumping up out of their seats to cheer, carrying drinks back from the bar and taking selfies with rugby legends <a href=”http://mycustomessaywriters.org/”>essay writer</a>.

The results of the campaign showed and increase in interaction through their social media channels and no drop off in sales despite tickets going on general sale.

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Urban’s no myth

Last week, Premiership Rugby (the governing body of professional club rugby in England) launched a new community project called Urban Rugby Squad, a programme designed to give youngsters from non-traditional rugby communities a chance to experience the sport.

We at Grip Creative were delighted to be tasked with creating the brand for the programme, using the experience built up in community sports over the last 16 years. Our unique understanding of the way that professional sport works in the community, its many objectives, target audiences (both in terms of participants and funding partners) and the variety of assets produced during the lifetime of such programmes meant that we were the perfect choice for the job. (We’ve been working with the Premiership on this side of their business since 2002!)

An important part of the brief was to engage 14-16 year olds whilst not patronising them by using the usual graffiti effect so often used with younger audiences, whilst bearing in mind the importance for the sponsors to feel that they were involved in a CSR project – a tricky balancing act, it’s not just a case of jumping straight in with the colouring set, we do a lot of research before we begin the creative process.

The feedback from participants and sponsors so far has been incredibly positive with both sides commenting on the look and feel of the new brand.

To date we have worked on over 30 different programmes across sport developing brands to reflect the sports themselves and their various target audiences, producing all of the associated collateral from classroom assets, branded equipment and area branding to annual reports, funding proposals and awards events.

We wish the clubs involved every success with the delivery of this exciting new initiative.

To see other examples of our community work <a href=”http://www.gripcreative.co.uk/?portfolio_page=work-6″>click here</a> or get in contact and we’ll tell you more…

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Making a splash

This weekend sees our latest campaign for the Barbarians come to life at Twickenham Stadium when the invitational side takes on England.

We launched the first stages of the Barbarians v Argentina campaign a few months back with national press, email, social media and online assets and on Sunday we get things moving, quite literally, with the animated Twickenham Stadium graphics, as we gain access to the big screen and LED perimeter boards during the match.

As with all projects, we considered at the outset how the creative could be be brought to life to add impact if the opportunity arose further down the line (as it so often does, due to last minute availability of outdoor digital signage). Our forward-thinking and awareness of developments and opportunities has benefited numerous clients over recent years in this way as digital media eats away at print’s former dominance, particularly with outdoor and public transport space.

If you happen to be at Twickenham on Sunday you’ll be able to see the fruits of our labor, not to mention a cracking game of rugby…

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Hitz-Hitz hooray!

Premiership Rugby’s multi award winning CSR Programme HITZ gave out some gongs of its own this week at their inaugural Awards Evening, held at partners Barclays’ Head Office in Canary Wharf.

Grip Creative has been involved with the project – which tackles some of the greatest challenges facing young people today and gives them the skills to get back into education, voational training, apprenticeships, self-reliance and confidence – since its inception nearly five years ago, when we sat down with a group of teenagers in Hackney to design the HITZ id and help to bring their ideas to life.

The objective of the evening was to mark the amazing achievements of the project and its participants and we were tasked to make sure that event reached new heights in terms of its status and visibility in front of 200 distinguished guests. A full suite of event material was produced from electronic invites and info graph lanyards to the branding on the night, which included the presentation screens around the event and of course the main big screen itself.

The event, MCd by rugby commentator and former International, David Flatman, was a huge success with five worthy winners walking away with their awards and everyone at the event witnessing this hugely inspiring project take another massive step forward.

Picture: Pinnacle Photo Agency for Premiership Rugby

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