The Rugby Football Union (RFU), the English sport’s governing body, has appointed Lowe Howard-Spink to promote the game in advance of the Rugby World Cup which takes place in the UK in October.
The agency, as well as advertising the game in general, will promote four England warm-up matches against Canada, the US, and two matches against an invited team called the Allied Dunbar All Stars.
Financial services company Allied Dunbar is sponsoring the sport’s top two divisions, with backing of &£7.5m over a three-year period, as revealed in Marketing Week (April 4 1997).
The &£1m national campaign will cover radio, press and posters, and begins in August.
RFU chief executive Francis Baron is behind the move. He is keen to raise the profile of the sport, which has seen a host of senior administrators come and go as it struggled to remain solvent when its players turned professional in the mid-Nineties. Baron is the former managing director of holiday company First Choice.
If the campaign is successful LH-S could be retained to devise a campaign specifically for the World Cup. The finals run from October 1 to November 6.
The opening and closing games will be played in the new Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Organisers say the competition is expected to achieve a cumulative audience of 3 billion across 135 countries.