Brands kick off Rugby Six Nations campaigns

Rugby Football Union sponsors IBM, BMW and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) are launching tactical marketing campaigns in a bid to tap into the excitement around the start of this year’s Six Nations tournament.

RFU sponsors are launching tactical marketing campaigns to coincide with the start of the rugby Six Nations Championship.

The tournament launches tomorrow (2 February) and will see England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales compete with one another over the month-long tournament.

BMW is running a Twitter campaign to promote its ties to the national team. The German car marque, which is the official automotive partner of the RFU, is giving 10 fans the chance to win a chauffeured lift from Twickenham Stadium after England’s home games when they use the #SweetChariot. Winners will be selected randomly on match days.

The campaign is being backed by an online video featuring members of the England team including Ben Foden singing Sweet Chariot.

Elsewhere, IBM is seizing the opportunity to announce its five year strategic deal with the RFU as official analytics partner. It is launching online platform TryTracker to provide play-by-play insights during games and predict three crucial areas of performance specific to the team ahead of match days. The service will initially be used during the Six Nations before being extended to other international games. It is hoped it will work similarly to its deal with Wimbledon organisers the All England Club and showcase its analytics offering.

Title sponsor RBS, which is also the main sponsor for the Six Nations, has overhauled its RBS 6 Nations Live Challenge app for iPhone and Android devices to allow users to tweet directly from it for the first time. Additionally, it includes news, team lineups and match previews as well as live commentary and video highlights.

The financial firm says it is not relying on paid-for media to boost awareness of the app. It will instead, rely on blogger outreach as well as its existing database. RBS will send push notifications via the app in a bid to re-activate the 100,000 people who downloaded the app last year.

The activity by sponsors is part of a wider push from the RFU to raise the profile of the sport ahead of the England 2015 Rugby World Cup.

A spokeswoman for the RFU says: “The activations our partners are doing around this year’s tournament really set the tone for how we want to grow rugby in the UK ahead of the World Cup in 2015. Compared to other sports like football and the Premier League we’re not the most high-profile in the UK, which is why fan engagement is so important to our marketing strategy.This year is important for us and we’re looking to focus everything we do both as a brand and with our partners around how we can make rugby more accessible.”

Seperately, Six Nations organisers have signed a deal with YouTube that will see match highlights and exclusive content made available for online viewers worldwide for the next three seasons.

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