On Friday, 22 November 2019, attendees saw the very best work behind the business of sport awarded at the annual Hollard Sport Industry Awards, held in Johannesburg, with Vodacom and their marketing agency Openfield bagging the coveted win for Best Campaign for 2019.
Vodacom and Openfield were also awarded Best Sponsorship of an Event or Competition for this same campaign. These two Hollard Sport Industry wins recognise the passion, creativity and sheer genius for this campaign, which saw the Vodacom Bulls (Captain America), Cell C Sharks (Black Panther), DHL Stormers (Thor) and the Emirates Lions (Spider-Man) transformed into Marvel superheroes with specially designed team jerseys.
This not only opened Super Rugby to a much wider audience, but also saw substantial spikes in merchandise sales, an increase in television exposure of 115%, and increased ticket sales across the board. Above all else, the fans loved it, as did Vodacom’s customers. Besides bespoke rugby events being arranged for customers, the first 2000 customers to sign a Vodacom Red contract were also guaranteed a Marvel rugby jersey.
Michelle Van Eyden, Executive Head of Sponsorship at Vodacom said, ’As the sponsors of Super Rugby, Vodacom’s partnership with Marvel and SuperSport brought the world’s favourite big-screen superheroes to its customers, in an epic Vodacom Super Rugby blockbuster. This injected a new super-charged energy into rugby and took the game to a whole new audience. Everybody played their role, from the Marvel superheroes, to the players as heroes on the field, to the fans’ heroic support, and the Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa (CHOC) children as the greatest heroes of all.’
Added to this marketing first was Vodacom’s support of CHOC, which allowed their customers to get behind the ‘real’ heroes of the campaign that resulted in R1 million being raised and R15 million worth of media value for this charity. CHOC supports the well-being of children and teenagers diagnosed with cancer or life-threatening blood disorders and their families around South Africa.
The results speak for themselves: 92,904,468 million opportunities to see this campaign on social media, an increase in PR value of R22 million, a sold-out 55,000 strong crowd at the pre-season double Superhero Sunday and an incredible 296% average increase of entries for Vodacom’s Red Reward events. Added to this, the four rugby unions involved in this campaign sold on average 60% more Marvel jerseys than the Vodacom Super Rugby jerseys sold in 2018.