Being a Vodacom Bulls player isn’t f or t he f a i nt- hea r t e d, s ay s Wimpie le Roux, general manager of specialist ad agency 1886. “It’s a tough job facing charging Maoris, largerthan-life forwards and razor-sharp backs at full pace,” he says. But even more terrifying is the challenge of singing Stand by Me on television.
The campaign to attract new fans kicked off with a teaser ad (www.youtube.com/watch? v=SLEc-f b1u1w) featuring the Bulls talking about fear, about something in their f uture which was going to be ‘the scariest thing they’ve ever done”. The viewer makes an instant connection with the imminent seasonopening clash with the DHL Stormers.
A week ahead of the game, the “reveal” w a s a i r e d ( w w w. y o u t u b e . c o m / watch? v=cYRRAvi3cpw). This opened in the locker room with the players look- ing rather nervous, stressed and serious. Then, captain Pierre Spies steps forward and begins to... sing a rendition of Stand by Me. The team joins in with a raw, open-hearted, appeal for support. Rugby players they are, singers they ain’t – but the fans loved it.
Marrying television with online and viral components, a few weeks before the Stormers’ match and within days of the critical component of t he campaign being added to YouTube and Facebook, it notched up a phenomenal 209 000 views, a number many professional musicians would be proud of.
“The Vodacom Bulls now stand apart from other teams, the video is creating great likability for the players and the brand. It ’s a brand property that the Vodacom Bulls own and which can be activated at live events throughout the Super Rugby season,” said Le Roux.