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Branding the Retravision Western Warriors

Client: 

Retravision (WA) Pty

PR Company: 

Professional Public Relations

Award Category: 

Award Type: 

Call Number: 

2004 H 4

Year: 

2004

Executive Summary: 

Western Australias cricket team the Western Warriors has been one of the States most successful and high profile sporting organisations.

Professional Public Relations (PPR) client Retravision (WA) Ltd commissioned the consultancy to work with its advertising agency MJB&B, the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) marketing department and Retravisions in-house marketing staff to:

Pitch the PR benefits of naming rights sponsorship of the team to the Retravision Board to gain its approval, in a joint presentation with MJB&B and WACA Marketing.
Promote the announcement of the sponsorship and re-brand the team as the Retravision Warriors.
Develop public relations opportunities with particular focus on a Retravision Match Day to be selected from the teams Pura Cup and ING Cup home games at the WACA Ground during the 2003-04 season.

No major sporting team in WA had previously been successfully re-branded with the sponsors name.

Retravision had not previously made a commitment to a major sponsorship of the size of the Warriors involvement in order to promote its image and market profile.

PPR began work on the pitch to the Retravision Board on 9 September 2003 less than seven working days before jointly presenting to the companys Directors.

After the Board endorsed the sponsorship, PPR began work on 18 September 2003 - nine working days before the launch of the Retravision Western Warriors.

PPR worked closely with MJB&B, WACA marketing staff and Retravisions in-house marketing staff to select a match day and develop a program to promote the game. Work commenced on this in the last week of November 2003 and the match was played on 21 January 2004.

Consultants from PPRs corporate division - led by Errol Considine and the consultancys consumer division, led by Janine Carter - worked closely together on the Retravision Warriors program. The PPR team developed a range of media and promotional activities, including non-traditional promotions targeting non-news media and consumers to promote Retravisions image as a good corporate citizen and strong supporter of WA. The PR activities also meshed with Retravisions general consumer product advertising with the inclusion of Western Warriors branding as an element in all print, radio and TV advertisements.

Situation Analysis: 

The challenges of this project were four-fold:

Ensure activities developed by PPR were fully integrated, coordinated and complimentary to the advertising programs of MJB&B.
Overcome the traditional opposition of media to giving sponsor recognition.
The WACA had been embroiled in a range of issues some of them related to financial performance in recent years and, as a result, its image and relationships with some reporters was difficult. This had the capacity to sour relationships with the naming rights sponsor and therefore to potentially impact negatively on marketing communications.
Develop and implement strategies within very short time frames due to the late commitment by Retravision just days before the launch of the 2003-04 first-class cricket season.

However, PPRs work benefited from the integrated support of MJB&B. The agency knew the Retravision account and target markets intimately. MJB&B was also able to develop a new logo for the Retravision Warriors, plus develop branded apparel and support materials. MJB&B also worked with WACA Marketing to manage the production of all signage, products and apparel.

Research: 

PPR worked closely with MJB&B and WACA Marketing throughout the Retravision Warriors project.

The advertising agency had access to consumer research used in developing its advertising strategies for Retravision and the WACA had access to previous cricket sponsorship research.

While this research was not made directly available to PPR, both MJB&B and WACA had input into all the marketing communication activities developed and implemented by PPR and worked together on most activities.

Target Policies: 

Two key publics were the target of the marketing communications:

  1. WA consumers (across all demographics).
  2. Cricket goers and potential spectators.

Communication Strategy: 

Communication Strategy and Implementation

Retravision Warriors Launch

After the Retravision Board had agreed to take up the sponsorship, it had to be launched before the traditional season-opener at Lilac Hill when a WACA Presidents invitational side, including current and past WA players, is matched against a touring international side. This was planned for Wednesday 1 October. Cricket Australia were also holding a clinic for the Test team squad in Perth before the Lilac Hill match. Many eastern states media were in Perth for the clinic, Lilac Hill match and upcoming Test Match against Zimbabwe at the WACA Ground.

However, Test cricket will always take media interest and precedence over State cricket. So it was important to leverage off the growing interest in the new cricket season, as much as possible the launch but to avoid directly conflicting with the international cricket program and competing for coverage.

PPR selected the morning of Tuesday 30 September at the WACA Ground for the launch and developed a media launch event. This was timed to coincide with junior cricket clinics being staged at the WACA Ground, which were also sponsored by Retravision, to provide further photographic opportunities. The consultancy:

  • Worked with WACA Marketing to select a venue and develop a plan for the media launch event involving Retravision VIPs, WACA Board members and all Warriors squad members
  • Engaged a staging company and briefed them on all requirements for staging, signage, lighting, audio-visual etc. 
  • Developed all written materials Media Alert, Media Release, running sheets, speech notes for speakers, MC key messages and speech notes, Q&A for media conference panel members. This was done in consultation with WACA Marketing and Media staff.
  • Developed a scenario with paid actors and gift packs for commercial breakfast radio drops on the morning of the announcement to generate positive non-news comment and coverage.
  • Drafted invitation letters to Retravision Directors and VIPs. 
  • Compiled media kits.
  • Supervised the venue set up at the WACA Ground.
  • Supervised a final rehearsal.
  • Managed the event, with support from WACA Media, the post-event, on-ground activities, including photo shoots, for follow-up media coverage.

The launch was covered on all TV stations, plus received extensive positive coverage on radio. The following morning The West Australian featured the new Retravision Warriors logo on the front page banner pointing to a feature story on page three. Media releases and pictures featuring Warriors players and junior players were issued to suburban newspapers, generating follow-up coverage.

 Follow Up With Media

In the period from the sponsorship launch on 30 September up to Christmas 2003, PPR worked closely with WACA Marketing and Media staff and with MJB&B to follow up with key media to try to cement the use of the Retravision Warriors logo and the name, on TV and radio respectively.

During this period, PPR also worked with MJB&B and WACA staff to finalise planning and implementation of more branding initiatives and positive media coverage in areas including:

  • Signage at the WACA Ground nets area to be featured for media interviews and coverage.
  • Signage in the new players stand areas at the WACA Ground which are regularly featured in interviews and general match broadcasts.
  • Functions involving Retravision Board members, including a season launch cocktail party with sponsors, the Test Match Dinner and presentation of bags and apparel to Retravision Warriors squad players.
  • WACA internal and external e-newsletters and hard copy printed newsletters.

Retravision Match Day Waugh at the WACA

PPR, MJB&B and WACA Marketing initially identified the ING limited-overs match between the Retravision Warriors and Queensland Bulls as traditionally the best-attended non-finals match of the year. This was initially selected to be the Retravision Match Day.

However, it was then found that the Warriors v Bulls game clashed with the national TV network coverage of the Australian teams first limited overs match of the cricket season in Melbourne.

PPR then identified that the Retravision Warriors ING match against New South Wales would be the next best option, a match that included cricket legends Steve and Mark Waugh playing for NSW. Test and NSW Captain Steve Waugh then announced his retirement from first-class cricket at the end of the season. His twin brother Mark Waugh had previously announced it was also to be his last year.

PPR identified the fact that the Waugh brothers had set a world record stand at the WACA in which they both scored double centuries. This could be used as a media focus to generate positive coverage for the game and attract spectators. PPR developed a proposal for a comprehensive range of promotional events.

PPR met with Retravision, plus MNB&B and WACA Marketing and gained endorsement for the plan. The theme was then developed by WACA Marketing: Waugh at the WACA The marketing promotion activities included:

  • In-store promotion at all Retravision stores including point-of-sale materials, promotion of prizes at the game and ticket giveaways.
  • Commitment for promotion in Retravision press advertising (catalogues).
  • Pre-match competitions in "The West Australian" newspaper and "Sunday Times". $10 Retravision vouchers for every spectator entering the ground.
  • DVDs giveaways with every 1000th person through the turnstiles to win a DVD.
  • Negotiate pre-publicity with Community Newspapers for editorial promotion of the DVDs giveaway competition at the game.
  • Promote a best dressed "Warriors Fan of the Day" (male and female) at the ground competition jointly with 96FM, with digital cameras as the prizes.
  • Development of a program of on-ground entertainment during the match, including: a performance by the Retravision Variety Club Choir; final of the WACAs Backyard Legends match; games by the Milo Kids and Retravision 8s junior players.
  • Scripting of coordination of ground announcements and video screen replays to promote competition sponsors and winners.
  • Interviews during the game of winners of some competitions by 96FM.
  • Announcement of DVD winners and presentations to winners by Retravision Chairman.
  • Toss of the coin by the Minister for Sport.

PPR identified the opportunity to create a special commemorative print of the Waugh brothers record WACA innings to be presented to Steve and Mark Waugh at the media conference. PPR negotiated with the Sports Editor of "The West Australian" to gain access to the materials and worked with the newspapers senior graphic artist on the layout and design of the prints. They featured reproductions of the press headlines and stories on the world record innings, plus the match report, scoreboard and press photographs.

PPR managed all aspects of the organisation and staging of the media conference. The commemorative prints became the focus of the media conference on the eve of the Waugh at thew WACA game,

Three copies of the branded specially-framed prints were produced. One each were presented to Steve and Mark Waugh. (A third framed print was signed by the Waugh brothers on the day and will be auctioned at the 2004 Test Match Dinner, creating another PR opportunity for Retravision).

Implementation: 

Results: 

1.Use of the Retravision Warriors branded logo in colour on the front page of The West Australian newspaper for sponsorship launch (1 October 2003)
coverage on all Perth commercial TV and radio stations
follow up coverage in Perth suburban newspapers of the launch (this was supposed by further coverage in suburban press of the season launch cocktail party).
2. Permanent use of the branded Retravision Warriors logo as a backdrop to sports readers on Channel 7 News Perth, Channel 10 News Perth and Sports Tonight program on Network Ten.
3. Regular use of the name Retravision Western Warriors on Perth commercial radio news and sporting programs 6PR, Nova, 96, 92.9/94.5.
4. Regular use of Retravision Warriors name in Sunday Times sporting column.
5. Set new WACA ground record crowd attendance of 16,987 for a domestic limited-overs match with Retravision match day Waugh at the WACA (21 January 2004).

PPR led these activities but worked closely with WACA Marketing and Media departments and MJB&B, who supported many of these initiatives by combined approaches to key media.
The cumulative impact of the marketing communications is shown in the market research results listed below.

Evaluation: 

Donovan Research is commissioned by the WACA at the send of each first-class season to conduct public opinion research to evaluate the market penetration of its sponsorships.

Western Power had been the previous naming rights sponsor of the Warriors team. That organisations sponsorship had been supported by substantial budgets which included dedicated, prime-time corporate TV advertising plus some billboards and press advertising.

The results of the market research of the Western Power sponsorship over the years 1999-2001, compares to the Retravision sponsorship after one year (with no dedicated corporate advertising support) below.

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Retravision

Western Power

----------------

2003-2004

1999

2000

2001

2004

Prompted recall

85%

79%

84%

94%

91%

Unprompted Recall

 

61%

53%

61%

68%

63%