Indigenous television channel Māori Television had secondary rights to broadcast a range of games during the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. Some games were to be broadcast live but the key games later in the tournament would be delayed broadcasts. The challenge was to develop a PR program to elevate the awareness of Māori Television’s RWC free-to-air coverage, and through this, introduce more New Zealanders to what Māori Television offers. The numbers of media channels available for PR activity was of course compromised by the fact the client was a media channel itself.
Pead PR prepared a range of activities from pre-launch of the tournament through to the final whistle, positioning Māori Television as the only place to get the entire tournament coverage outside pay-to-view TV. The program involved targeted media relations profiling the line-up of experienced commentators. Lifestyle and non-traditional sports media angles were identified and pitched to a wide range of media. Personalised Māori Television T-shirts and fridge magnets outlining the broadcast schedule with the caption “It’s all on” were gifted to sports media nationwide. Pead PR identified games where commentators’ past playing experience was relevant and injected them into the media conversation in the game build-up. High profile commentators took Māori Television-branded rugby balls on visits to radio stations and going on air talking about the channel’s coverage. Just prior to the first game of the tournament, Pead PR enticed media to attend an indigenous “haka” (Māori war dance) flashmob stopping traffic at the main intersection in Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city (watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPdDthszanE).
Results were spectacular. Audience levels exceeded both client expectations and industry predictions which had been sceptical of the channelís ability to glean value from its involvement in the event. Ratings in general were 56 per cent higher than industry predictions. The PR program for Māori Televisionís Rugby World Cup coverage provided the channel with a return on investment of 26:1