Five rugby campaigns that knocked our socks off

Rugby. When major events such as the World Cup, Six Nations or the British and Irish Lions are touring the subcontinent, rugby mania sweeps the nation. Providing a perfect opportunity for brands to implement short, sharp successful marketing campaigns.

We’ve scrolled through the archives and listed our five favourite campaigns showcasing creativity, results and well they just made us giggle!

Guinness Clear

Over the years Guinness has become synonymous with rugby. So much so that during the last Rugby World Cup, Guinness’ sales grew by 4% despite Heineken being the official beer.

On the eve of this year’s Six Nations Guinness decided to reveal a new beverage, Guinness Clear. In reality, Guinness Clear is just water and marks the cornerstone of a responsible drinking campaign. Guinness filmed a tasting session with rugby legends Lawrence Dallaglio and Brian O’Driscoll – released as an advert – and even held a launch event for press, hosted by the two former players.

The hashtag #GuinnessClear was created to drive consumer engagement and Guinness has been rolling out several fan activations at Six Nations matches, including the Guinness Hydration Station.

We will have to wait till after the Guinness Six Nations has concluded to see if the campaign was deemed a success, but the immediate reaction suggests it has been a positive one.

02 #WearTheRose

When England hosted the World Cup in 2015, England’s main sponsor, O2, had the perfect platform to execute a well thought out campaign. It began with the strap-line ‘#WearTheRose’ being unveiled on the roof of the O2 arena.

More was to follow, as O2 went on to produce a stunning amination video, which gained 2.6m views on YouTube alone.

O2 declared it as the most successful digital campaign it had ever run, and according to Twitter, O2 had 67% share of voice for the whole tournament due to the #WearTheRose hashtag. It’s just a shame that England went out in the group stages of the tournament, but that’s for another day…

Samsung ‘School of Rugby’

Samsung’s aim was to create a series of one-minute comedy clips, to help demystify and enhance people’s enjoyment of the sport, using comedian Jack Whitehall as the lynchpin. Whitehall learnt about the core elements of the game whilst making some quips and gags at former England players. The miniseries amassed over two million views on YouTube.


The clothing brand Jacamo didn’t have millions to spend to promote their brand to a global audience. In 2015, Jacamo had no affiliation to the World Cup but this didn’t stop them from hijacking the news agenda and creating the ‘Hakarena’. The results were staggering, in just five days it generated a combined 2.3m video views and was shown on BBC, ITV, Fox and CNN. The press coverage reached almost 40 million people and it trended in not only the UK, but Australia and New Zealand too.

Guinness Rugby – Gareth’s Story

Guinness as a brand is synonymous with rugby, so when Heineken won the rights to be the only beer supplier during the World Cup, Guinness had to get creative.

Guinness hedged their bets that competitor brands would focus on physical challenges in their campaigns in the build-up to the World Cup, so Guinness instead decided to focus on the mental and social challenges. The campaign focused on Welsh captain Gareth Thomas and his struggle to go public with his sexuality. Thomas became the world’s first openly gay rugby player.

The results were unbelievable, 23 million people tuned in to watch the TV advert which aired between England vs Wales. Arguably the comments below on YouTube were the biggest success.

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