Live events are back with a bang after such a long time…………and it feels SOOOOOOOOOOOO good!
At YOURgb we love that online and hybrid events are here to stay, but live events, in a live environment with real people are definitely the heart and soul of the events industry and my goodness, did our team at YOURgb miss them.
One area of the industry that is close to my heart is sport sponsorship and that incredible opportunity of connecting brands to sports fans and communities for richer experiences. I’ve been lucky enough to work on sport sponsorship from all sides of the fence – as a sponsor, as a rights holder and also as an activation agency here at YOURgb.
At YOURgb, our team have a breadth of experience across a number of global sporting events including the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games, Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and Glasgow 2018 European Championships. More recently, we were lucky enough to be the lead activation agency for The Famous Grouse, Official Whisky of The British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa 2021.
Our wonderful clients approached at the end of 2020 to initially support them with activating and amplifying their rights and benefits at ‘The Home Match’, where The Lions would take on Japan at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh in June 2021. The first time the Lions would have been on home soil in 16 years!
Our brief was to celebrate The Famous Grouse’s 30 years of heritage with the sport of rugby and to bring to life the brand’s ‘Spirit of Rugby’ through the line campaign which had fans at the heart of it. So, The Famous Grouse Clubhouse was born!
Little did we know the brief would grow arms and legs……
Every great sponsor partnership involves face to face brainstorms, client and rights holder meetings, site visits and ongoing production and supplier meetings. One massive team with the same unwavering goal. But our wee friend COVID-19 got in the way at times and threw us many a curve ball, even in the days running up to getting onsite. We did what we do best – we adapted quickly and we made it work with a smile on our faces.
At Murrayfield Stadium, we created a key serve centric bar from start to finish which was staffed by trained Brand Ambassadors. Getting onsite again, amongst a like-minded venue team, the British & Irish Lions operational team, other sponsors and suppliers was fantastic. We all said the same thing – we had forgotten just how hard live events can be, physically and mentally! The hours were long but the laughs were loud and we knew as a team we had each other’s back every single minute!
Connecting an amazing brand to passionate fans was wonderful and they literally drank the bar dry! That in itself is an experience we won’t forget in a hurry. Fans were also given the opportunity to interact with a few special guests with the incomparable The Famous Grouse Brand Ambassadors (Lions legends, more on that below!) as well as the best legend of all, Gilbert the grouse mascot.
Our planning didn’t end at the stadium. YOURgb was also asked to create and deliver activation takeovers at three of Edinburgh’s renowned rugby pubs so that The Famous Grouse Clubhouse could be in place for the duration of the British & Irish Lions Tour. This is where we took fan engagement to another level!
With the help of British & Irish Lions legends Matt Dawson, Jamie Heaslip, Shane Williams, Gavin Hastings as well as Jim Hamilton, we brought the stories of previous Tours and camaraderie of rugby to the fans through special events and VIP dinners. It was incredible seeing fans across these pubs excited and engaged again. The Famous Grouse Brand Ambassadors are the epitome of the brand – fun, curious, cheeky and the best at what they do. Talent Management is always a fun part of our role and working with these guys was a true pleasure.
To maximise the time we had with The Famous Grouse Brand Ambassadors, we were also asked to deliver a content creation programme where videos/photography of games, stories, well wishes and competitions were transferred to the brand’s digital platforms by our wonderful friends at Leith. Being part of the film shoot was a real giggle and the friendship and banter amongst these gents, really does live on!
A lot of businesses talk about a team effort, but there was NOT ONE member of the YOURgb crew that wasn’t involved in this sponsor partnership. It connected us all in a way that we badly craved after the craziness of the pandemic and the isolation of remote working. A good time was definitely had by all.
Here’s to continuing to support The Famous Grouse with their other rugby partnerships at Glasgow Warriors and Premiership Rugby in the months and years to come. Who knows, maybe Gilbert the grouse will make another cheeky appearance somewhere…….