Shortlisted 2020

Technology and Telecoms



Entered by:

PHD International


Verizon, La Gazzetta and L'Quipe, VCCP

Canon Rugby World Cup 2019

The Challenge

In  January 2017 Canon become the first company to be confirmed as an official sponsor for the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan . The challenge was to ensure we maximised awareness of this partnership, but with numerous other partners of the event we needed to make sure Canon stood out. The barrier was that achieving significant SOV amongst other sponsors would be a battle to compete for a piece of the pie.

The sponsorship means more than just the use of a brand logo, the relationship emphasised the significant global appeal of the first Rugby World Cup in Asia and the working partnership would drive reach and impact of the sport in Japan, across Asia and around the globe.

Our main challenge in media was to build the bridge between Canon as a brand, the game and Canon products. Canon being a heritage brand and iconic in history wasn’t going to be enough, we needed to work out how to make Canon relevant to the time, dynamic in approach, and current with the times. This task meant driving awareness of Canon being the iconic sporting home of photography amongst a broad array of people, from those who are mainly interested in rugby to those only interested in photography.

The Creative Solution

Our creative solution was established with the tagline ‘Canon helps find the great story in every game’, using this we positioned Canon in the triangle of truth:

  1. We understood that every Rugby World Cup has a defining story
  2. A fan’s extraordinary sporting story can come from anywhere
  3. Canon’s brand truth is that they always capture the greatest sporting stories

With this established truth of storytelling we needed to ensure we could drive the touch and feel approach of sport to the target audience. Not only sharing the brand love behind Canon and Rugby to sports fanatics but also to ensure we were always overlaying our message to those interested in photography at the same time.

Our solution was made possible by driving relevancy through creative, by generating Hero videos that visualise the story of’ History in the Taking’ we brought together the world’s greatest international rugby players who made history, and the world-class sporting photographers who captured it. We discovered that in sport there are those who make history and there are those who take it. We used this creative positioning to establish that Canon is in the centre of these history makers, that these moments need to be preserved and Canon will be the ones there to immortalise them.

Creative and media needed to tie in all three markets with the same concept of Can on’s unity with Rugby as a sport, our direction lead to support two creative solution s:

  • The first solution was to use the three hero videos of iconic Rugby stories from France, England and Italy to ground the truth that Canon is part of history and the foundation to sports photography. A clear message of storytelling ensured we could drive consistent communication of the sponsorship throughout the approach, across the year leading up to the RWC 2019 event.
  • The second solution was to ensure we established relevancy and could join the connection between the game and the product. We needed to drive that emotive experience of the sport, with the storytelling aspect of the game by showcasing the importance of the camera product. Our plan was to ensure we utilised a native approach with relevant and regular updates from an insider’s view, the Getty relationship allowed us to leverage this perspective, bringing the story alive and sharing the true emotion of the game.

The Media/Content Amplification Solution

Our media solution to this challenge was to break the campaign into two halves:

  • For the first half we drove competition entries to win the ultimate trip to the Rugby World Using Facebook and lnstagram we drove incentive and inspiration amongst photography enthusiasts and grassroots fans, encouraging them to enter their best rugby photos.
  • The second phase was the larger half of the campaign, driving reach and awareness of the RWC sponsorship across EN, IE, FR and IT in the lead up to the Our media approach ensured we successfully brought to life the two creative solutions, to do this we leveraged the credibility and relevancy of local media owners. This allowed us to plan with media consumption knowledge at the heart of the direction, channels were chosen based on local the media landscape.

Phase Two: Partnerships –
We recognised that in order to speak to our audience about storytelling we needed to work in close partnership with publishers across each market that specialised in sport and tech ensuring they would bring the story alive. After briefing out to all relevant partners we decided that the following publishers offered insight, detailed targeting, reach, and relevance:

  • Verizon UK – Offered huge scale, a powerful tech stack and premium content, Verizon ensured they could distribute the campaign to our correct audience through multiple touch They also generated 6x bespoke editorial articles, including how to get the dream shot, best photos of Japan, and kit tricks from photographers on site at the RWC.
  • La Gazzetta IT – Ensured we drove high impact with large format digital placements, supported by video and prominent Print insertions across the La Gazzetta sports
  • L’Equipe FR – Traffic drivers ran across L’Equipe network to Canon RWC Hub and Shot of the Day content. This was also supported by daily lnstagram posts and print pre RWC and in the RWC

To support the media partnerships , we ran Facebook and lnstagram to all markets. We utilised the hero videos of the behind the shot content and served this to Rugby enthusiasts, photography enthusiasts as well as retargeting those who interacted with the first phase lead gen. This tied together the approach and drove traffic to learn more on the local RWC Canon Hub sites, that housed kit tricks, top products for sports photography and further detail on the RWC sponsorship including the Getty Shot of the Day partnership.

The Result

Running the two-pronged approach proved successful in terms of planned KPI but also driving additional success above and beyond planned benchmarks. Working in partnership with publishers at a central and local level drove positive results, to measure success clearly, we reported on markets separately to understand performance but at a holistic level the high numbers proved that a collaborative approach wins.

Campaign highlights to call out:

  • 619,473 custom editorial content views (1248% higher than planned)
  • 4,561,421 hero video views (136% higher than planned)
  • Highest dwell time of 2.19 mins
  • 46,251 landing page views on Canon RWC hub, this traffic is on top of publisher articles, bespoke content and videos

The partnerships proved to provide insight beyond successful media results, we generated learnings around custom content, how our users interact with Canon as a brand and how to reach those outside of our usual audience.

Some highlights of these additional insights below:

  • Developing tailormade content for each market ensures we have a consistent message internationally while still being ultra-relevant to that audience
  • Running regular shots each day throughout the games ensured we kept consistent awareness
  • The audience we ended up reaching spanned to all age groups, showing that a multichannel approach proved effective
  • Our most successful native driver was about ‘secrets to taking a great photo’, showing that the content didn’t need to directly link to the RWC to generate success
  • Having bespoke content generated with close partners ensured we had full control, it also meant we effectively linked sports fans with the emotion of a game, all while overlaying how tech can inform the story .
  • The biggest learning was that themed content around storytelling was well received and exceeded  planned  benchmarks. This proved  that our creative  solutions to the challenge drove ultimate
  • Editorial links: 1, i, J, :le, ‘.i.