What does England’s shock exit from RWC2015 mean for brands?

As an England rugby fan I was one of many left disappointed at our premature departure from our home-based Rugby World Cup.  ‘This was our year’, ‘we were robbed’, ‘I blame the ref’ etc. etc.  As is our nature, most of us have dusted ourselves off and switched allegiance to another team.  But what about the brands that aligned with England and are now looking at an advertising wasteland for the next few weeks?

O2 are a prime example – the #WearTheRose campaign started off with some great results.  Brand engagement for O2 rose by 5% and the campaign saw around 5 million acts of support.

But as England crashed out, the brand was left with a bit of a dilemma.  It can’t switch allegiance as many fickle fans have done so it’s unable to carry out the remainder of the planned marketing strategy.  Asking fans to make the team into giants seems a little unnecessary now.  By placing all of its eggs into one rose-shaped basket, O2 painted itself into a bit of a corner.

Brands such as Lucozade must be thankful for their choice of strategy.  By supporting all four home nations, the brand was practically guaranteed to have at least one team make it out of the pool stages and hopefully (dare we say it) into the final.  As a result the brand has seen a 14% increase in social engagement since the start of the campaign.

This figure is sure to increase as the tournament progresses and Lucozade will continue to deploy its planned content in the hope that Ireland, Scotland or Wales make it to the final.  So, what learnings can brands take from this year’s Rugby World Cup?  It’s a brave but risky strategy to back one team only – upsets can happen and brands can be left wondering how to revive dying campaigns.