As part of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, the Sydney 7s event returns in January complete with a new brand identity, creative strategy and media campaign.
With the 2017 Sydney 7s a sell-out event, the challenge for 2018 was to carry that momentum into the third year, defining Sydney’s place as the new ‘go-to’ destination on the HSBC Sevens World Series calendar.
With Rugby competing with other summer sporting calendar events, including The Ashes and The Australian Open, generating positive conversation and awareness around Sydney 7s was an important part of the creative brief.
Sydney-based creative agency Digilante saw an opportunity to broaden the appeal of the event to a wider, non-rugby audience by focusing on the unique fan experience Sydney 7s can offer.
Sydney7s is a fast-paced, fun, easy-to-watch tournament that sees families and people of all ages wear fancy dress to men’s and women’s rugby matches, culminating in a final game, with points also being recorded in the global 7s series.
Digilante co-founder and executive creative director Eric O’Brien said: “The time is right to refresh the event personality and re-position Sydney 7s as an international summer sports festival that can appeal to the next generation of fans and future participants.
“The new identity and supporting creative campaign have been created to reflect the fun festival feel and inclusiveness of a summer event, and to convey the energy and buzz that surrounds the games.
“Sydney 7s is a stadium-sized party, full of vibrancy, spontaneity and fun, both on and off the field.
“Previously Sydney 7s focused on core rugby audiences using more traditional messaging and mediums.
“However, sales statistics from previous years showed us that Millennials and first-time rugby event attendees accounted for over 50 per cent of the overall event sales, a wonderful opportunity to showcase 7s to new audiences.
“As such, we wanted to go beyond the usual on field, gameplay focus and put more emphasis on the young, fun, festival vibe. We set out to give Sydney 7s a bold, graphic look and gave it totally different personality to set it apart from the other, more traditional sporting events.
“With our new brand and communications, we set out to maximise the events social and digital engagement – a big opportunity for reach that wasn’t effectively utilised in previous years.”
Research for the Rugby Australia brand project uncovered vital insights around the growth potential for 7s Rugby in Australia.
Compared to the traditional XV form of rugby, the 7s format is much easier to understand, has more running play, passing and scoring and as such is more accessible to watch.
Also, with 7s now an Olympic sport available to men and women, the game is set to broaden rugby’s appeal to a new generation of school kids and Millennials, and in turn, promote future growth.
With this in mind, Digilante positioned Sydney 7s as a young, fun and more spontaneous sporting event, and focused on the concept of transformation for both Sydney as a destination and the colourful, party experience at the event.
The ‘Get Your Game On’ campaign shows fans and players alike transforming from the ordinary to express themselves through colour, bold moves and having fun, with more emphasis on the fan experience as opposed to just the gameplay.
Additionally, Digilante planned a communications strategy, designed to reach both existing and new audiences online with relevant messaging and content via sporting and lifestyle channels.
Alongside a tactical mix of digital display, SEM, online radio and social media, Digilante also formed a partnership with local content creators TippyTappy Sports, which produced a bespoke video series for social media entitled ‘How to Sevens’.
The three-episode series focuses on speed, skills and fans while taking a light-hearted look at rugby 7s and providing exclusive footage of the Australian 7s players in training.
Adam Freier, head of marketing and digital at Rugby Australia, said: “Digilante saw the opportunity to make the Sydney7s tournament relevant to a new local and global audience, and to change the focus from not only the games on the field, but also the fun off the field.
“The rebrand and creative strategy for Sydney 7s is part of a broader rebrand for all of Rugby Australia, led by Digilante.
“The rebrand represents an important new step towards a broader national initiative designed to reinvigorate rugby in Australia with the introduction of new initiatives for the growth of the game at every level, and to inspire more Australians to play and watch rugby.”