In 2019, Nifty was tasked with generating a record-breaking year for the National Rugby Awards, as it relaunched as the biggest celebration of grassroots rugby in the UK.
Nifty was asked to increase the brand’s recognition, generate coverage, drive new sponsorship and sell all tickets to the event. We were brought on board in April for the August event, without any sponsors, ticket sales or coverage in play… it was a tough task with such a short timeframe, particularly as most potential sponsors had spent their budgets for the upcoming year.
We love a challenge, so Nifty set about driving reach and recognition of the awards by targeting grassroots clubs across the country and running engaging social media, back by a range of world-class ambassadors. We also reached out to our contacts to bring potential sponsors into the fold, which culminated in Guinness coming on board as our headline sponsor after only a few weeks.
First we activated the sponsorship with a PR strategy including Chris Robshaw and Nolli Waterman at Richmond RFC, one of the oldest grassroots clubs in the country, which generated national coverage across press, radio, TV and online.
We also secured the Telegraph as a media partner and, with the early success of our campaign, introduced a mini, junior and youth rugby awards too. This meant we were able to sell twice the amount of tickets, thanks to the youth’s lunchtime event that was followed by the senior’s evening event. We sold our of tickets for both events, which took place at Twickenham Stadium, after driving a record number of nominations (three times that of previous years).
Alex Payne hosted the day and we had guests including Chris Robshaw, Alex Goode, Ollie Philips, Topsy Ojo, Nolly Waterman and Marlie Packer to meet winners and contenders.
As a result, we generated record-breaking coverage for the grassroots game, with the event producing the below stats over the course of the day alone:
· Press coverage shared on the outlets’ Facebook pages were shared 163 times, generating nearly 2000 reactions and 113 comments
· Facebook video content was viewed more than 100,000 times
· Instagram posts reached more than 50,000 people
· 7,500 social engagements across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
During the weeks that followed the event, we followed-up to produce extensive local coverage for each of the award-winning grassroots clubs, as well as extensive coverage with the backing of the RFU, whose support Nifty secured on the day of the event.