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A great execution of a sporting sponsorship.

October 10, 2010

Well it was a good 10 years, and brought many of my best and funniest sporting memories.

It reminded Australians of their basic BBQ skills, taught us the correct pronunciation of duck a l’orange, showed blokey blokes it’s OK to wear pink, and brought creation to ‘drop bears’, a concept which became a part of the parochial culture (even spawned a few facebook pages). Along the way, they spent more than $50 million over 10 years (and quite a bit before that as well) and gained more than a few devoted and engaged fans along the way.  For the American readers out there, I personally compare the power of the campaigns to the iconic “BUD-WEI-SER” frogs from a decade or so ago.

In fact, from a marketing perspective, there are few sporting sponsorships that have added as much fun and value to the national culture as Bundaberg Rum’s partnership with Australian Rugby.

Signing up in a big way in 2000/2001 to support the defending rugby world champions, Bundaberg (owned by Diageo, a global behemoth among alcohol manufacturers) embarked on a grass roots support of rugby in Australia, and gave some fun back to a sport which had only recently turned fully professional. More importantly, from a marketing perspective, it put funding into the areas of the sport that needed it the most, while delivering tremendous brand exposure in all the rights places for the sponsor. It truly was a win / win deal.

The brand values and the tone of the ads removed much of the drama that fans of any sport feel when they are supporting their national team, and showed a bit of good old Aussie spirit, with each new ad campaign turning out funnier than the last.

If you happen to follow rugby, then you probably know that the Australian team (the Wallabies) have fallen on hard times – ie, they can’t buy a win against a decent team at the moment – and ultimately this is probably why behind the scenes Bundaberg has ditched them.

But for anyone who, like I have, has laughed at the ads over the years, tried in vain to make Duck a l’Orange, and talks to foreigners about ‘drop bears’ at every chance, then you’ll know that this has been a perfect example of how a strategic marketing partnership can really work.

So for the first time I will break with the moniker of this blog and admit the opposite:

Intelligente Ist Romani – These Romans are actually quite…smart!



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