Top Rugby League Marketing Campaigns – May 2013

Over the past few decades Rugby League in Australia has promoted itself on the back of a number of very memorable marketing campaigns. Some of them were hits that saw Rugby League gaining attention from a wider audeince. Others were absolute garbage that even die hard Rugby League fans wish they could forget. Here is a look at the marketing campaigns used over the years in Australian Rugby League.

1. Simply The Best – Tina Turner
The follow up to the NSWRL’s “What You Get Is What You See” promotion, the “Simply The Best” marketing campaign won many awards for its effectiveness. Taking a great promotion and putting it into overdrive, the campaign Rugby League the glamour sport in Australian sport and lead it into unprecedented success.

2. What You Get Is What You See – Tina Turner
The first of the NSWRL’s glamour campaigns, the big budget that saw the NSWRL use Tina Turner as the singer and showing the many players and clubs from around the expanded competition. It was an unprecedented marketing success the likes of which had never been seen in Australia. Even in cities that didn’t have a Rugby League team the campaign was a hit.

3. That’s My Team – Hoodoo Guru’s
With the game on the nose to many after the Super League War the NRL had tried a number of marketing campaigns without success. Everything from a poem from Thomas Kenneally to footage of players set to audio of car noises, and one season the entire marketing campaign was Trent Barrett reading an “oath” to the game before the first game of a double header! It wasn’t until the “That’s My Team” campaign that the NRL hit a home run and found a new anthem for the game.

4. Something’s Got A Hold On Me – Jessica Mauboy
A new song for a new era in Rugby League as the game looked to target a wider audience. A catchy theme song sung by former Australian Idol contestant Jessica Mauboy and a television advert that showed people throwing passes to players in game situations looked great. It was a very solid effort that ticked a lot of boxes but fell short of being catchy.

5. The Boys Are Back In Town – Thin Lizzy
One from the mid 1980’s, a campaign that played off the back of the stars of Australian Rugby League returning to Australia from a Kangaroo tour and being “back in town” to take part in what was then the NSWRL competition. Looking back, it was actually a really good advert for the time and showed signs of the big thinking that Rugby League marketing guru’s of the time were heading towards.

6. This Is Our House – Bon Jovi
The last marketing campaign enacted by the old NRL administration and put together on a budget, paying an overseas act to use an obscure song no one really knew existed wasn’t the best idea to market the game. It was a lazy effort, especially as Bon Jovi never once played at an NRL game. The only thing going for it was that it was catchy after you heard it for the 3,000th time.

7. Its My Game – Unknown
The ARL’s anthem during the Super League War. It was a war cry to fans that its “My Game” and they are trying to take it away from us. It was simple with four words in the who song “Oooooh, its my game!” but it was effective and ended up being one of those tunes that gets stuck in your head.

8. When Two Tribes Go To War – John Stevens
Australian Super Leagues marketing campaign was big budget. A flashy TV ad showing Super League aligned players smashing their way through the galaxy. It was a good campaign, but because of the way the general public felt about Super League every time the advert was seen it just made people think about how much they hated the way the game had been torn apart.

9. Centenary Of Rugby League
Through the use of video editing we were treated with game footage that saw modern day stars playing alongside greats of the past. It looked fantastic and it was meant to kick off the celebration of the games centenary in Australia. Not all that memorable though and not really backed up all that well.

10. Engine Noises – Various Cars
No, it wasn’t a song by a band with a terrible name, it was car noises played over game footage. It wasn’t too bad but it also wasn’t a fully fleshed out marketing campaign. This was the best example of the NRL looking for the cheapest marketing campaign possible. It looked cool but had no impact at all by the third viewing. It also wasn’t built upon at all.

11. Feels Like Woah – Wes Carr
A cookie cutter effort by the NRL that felt like it was done on the cheap. It wasn’t bad but it was totally and completely forgettable. Using former Australian Idol star Wes Carr would have been a good idea if he didn’t remind everyone of David Spade.

12. Tubthumping – Chumbawamba
It was an effort to market the game to the hard drinking, hard living Rugby League fans that had left the sport after the Super League War. It has aged very poorly and while it used a catchy song, it was very average and fans didn’t really respond to it at all.

13. What A Game – Tom Jones
Awkward, clunky, Tom Jones was there for some reason signing in front of a green screen, this marketing campaign really summed up the shambolic way the game was run just after the Super League War. If you think of some of the cookie cutter efforts over the years, this is the very worst of them.

14. Blow That Whistle Ref – Thomas Keneally
Kicking off the 1999 NRL season with a poem by a famous author and some moody shots probably sounded like a good idea to someone in the NRL marketing department, but it failed to translate in any way as a marketing campaign and is used as an example of marketing failure in sport.

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