There is a Springbok in each and every one of us. At some stage in our lives we’ve taken to a field, a park or a street for a game of rugby, and we’ve dreamt of being a Springbok. It may be a legend of the past, or a star of today, but we’ve idolised each and every man to have worn the green and gold.
That was the foundation of the idea for the South African Rugby Union’s (SARU) 2012 campaign strategy for the Springboks. The campaign, tagged “Our Honour, Our Heritage”, has been carried across all media platforms, from the Springbok bus through to television commercials.
The ‘Our Honour Our Heritage’ television commercial demonstrates that the Springbok spirit is alive in each and every one of us and what better way to capture this than to hit the rugby fields of South Africa and watch burgeoning Springboks live in action? From children as young as four to teenagers & tertiary students participating in school games (both male & female alike), Brand inc Sport, the advertising agency that has partnered with SARU on the campaign, travelled the length and breadth of the country to film every day South Africans playing the game they love.
SARU Marketing Manager, Sarah Mundy commented that SARU now has a complete campaign that is “one voice, one tone, one message,” that represents all South Africans, and fundamentally works well throughout each and every communication and advertising channel available to SARU. “We’ve actually made our own legacy, as this is the first time in SARU history that a campaign of such magnitude has one primary message right the way through.”
“The direction chosen in communicating that this is a new era in South African rugby was critical”, says Andy Croly, director behind the TVC’s for Brand inc Sport. “With a new coach, new captain and new team in play, it was vital to show how SARU promotes Springbok rugby in such a light – and take it back to what it really means to be a Springbok – that great rugby is in our blood; that its part of our DNA. From that young boy kicking a rugby ball with his dad, to prison inmates playing rugby as part of a rehabilitation programme, to an old-school Afrikaans coach teaching a young aspiring black rugby team – the Springboks prove that no matter what race, culture, age or creed, all South Africans share a common passion, and reason to love the game. “
Sarah agrees: “It’s a wholesome and rational approach to preserving and honouring a brand that everyone already knows, and we’ve gone and tapped into what and why South Africans cherish and adore the sport on a much higher level. The general public is who we are focusing on, but the media has been astoundingly positive since the campaign launched. Right after the campaign broke, Jeremy Mansfield mailed me to say that the campaign ‘shows the full diversity of the support within South Africa’, which is, in effect, our end objective.”
The commercial shows South Africans from all walks of life playing rugby, and is creatively executed to make it look like they’re playing with the Springboks. “It was incredible to get to the heart of South African rugby, to the guys and girls who eat and sleep rugby, who live and breathe the Springboks. It was a humbling experience to spend a day shooting with these regular, everyday South Africans. They are the real heroes of the television commercial” adds Croly. “Their stories were so heart-warming that we decided to also shoot mini-documentaries, ‘SARU Rugby Stories of Inspiration’, about the very people who were involved in the television commercial. We’ve taken these and made them available on YouTube and SARU’s social network sites so that their stories can be seen, heard and consumed to inspire the nation.
The mini-doccie concept that came out of the filming fitted right in with SARU’s strategic objectives so it was agreed right from the beginning to run with these. The whole creative process was very smooth, but that’s what happens when your client is as passionate and commited as SARU is,” says Croly.
Mundy notes how good it feels to see the finished campaign in motion. “With a commerical like the one with little Noah Heath, (the four year old boy filmed kicking for posts in one of the ‘Our Honour, Our Heritage’ ads), we can all appreciate the value in the long, hard hours and effort that was laid down by our attentative and passionate SARU crew and agency who supports us. Our united team holds the Springbok brand close to their hearts. The workmanship and strategic outlay of this campaign shows it, and we can all stand proud with our heads held high!”
The following elements have been carried out of the ‘Our Honour Our Heritage’ campaign thus far:
- Television Commercial – A one 60-second version of the commercial is currently flighting as well as one 20-second version, across DStv, E-tv and SABC. SuperSport is flighting the 60-second version of it as well as 6x 20-second versions, in SD and HD.
There are 5 mini-documentaries telling the story behind the characters in the television commercial as well. These are entitled, “SARU Rugby Stories of Inspiration” and are available to view on YouTube and SARU’s social network sites.
- Print Ads – These ads focus on the isolated “moments” of the everyday South African who dreams of being a Springbok. The ads include various concepts, including 4-year-old Noah, who can kick a rugby ball over the posts in the exact style of Morne Steyn, or a poignant moment of a young Springbok supporter gazing up at his hero, Tendai “The Beast” Mtwararira. The ads convey what it means when we talk about “honour” and “heritage”.
- Branding – The concept of “Our Honour Our Heritage” was carried through to other Springbok touch points, including the Springbok bus, on-field branding and even into the Springbok change room. “From a marketing and communications perspective this is really important because it means that the tactile element brings the Springboks right into the campaign experience themselves,” says Mundy.
The honour and heritage of South African rugby lies in the idea that the Springboks themselves understand that it’s not just about being a player – being a Springbok is an honour; a privilege to represent a country so richly steeped in rugby history