NRL reveals grassroots marketing push

James McGrath
By James McGrath | 27 February 2015

The NRL is trying to switch the spotlight from the elite game to the grassroots as headlines continue to flow, and has hinted at a digital push.

Yesterday the NRL showcased the launch campaign at an event in Sydney, with all the requisite glamour you'd expect.

The launch ad showcased the sheer entertainment of the code at the elite end, but also the fans of the game.

MJW, which did the creative work on the ad, said that it had picked up strategy work on the NRL brand going forward, rather than just the creative on the ad itself.

“I think probably what we've tried to do this year, that hasn't been as clear in previous years is to take a two-pronged approach. Firstly doing the launch campaign, but also doing a lot of strategy around the NRL in general,” MJW executive creative director Luke Chess told AdNews.

“The 90-second ad you saw today was the Telstra Premiership launch ad, but we've done a lot of work and will continue to do a lot of work on the NRL brand broader than just the Telstra premiership as the second prong of that.”

Marketing manager for the NRL Lewis Pullen told AdNews yesterday that it would soon launch an ongoing campaign through digital channels aimed at highlighting the grass roots side of the game.

“In conjucntion with a lot of stakeholders, we decided to try and highlight the grassroots game and the broader NRL community a lot more, and how that umbrella is inclusive and brings a lot of people together,” Pullen said.

“It's a story which has gone untold really, or under-told, so we were keen to get that going.”

He said the #NRLnation hashtag would form a central part of the marketing push, and the decision to go digital only was about connecting with the wider NRL community.

“It will have a digital focus, and we think that's really going to connect at the grassroots level. We decided it was really time to highlight that the NRL is not just the Premiership,” Pullen said.

With NRL players seemingly perpetually in the headlines for doing various silly things, Pullen conceded that at least part of the rationale for the grassroots push was to highlight a side of the game which wasn't associated with nefarious activities.

“It's not not just about the absolute minority who do silly things, but about the broader community around the NRL,” Pullen said.

He said the campaign would roll throughout the season, rather than being a one-hit wonder.

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