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“Working with Hats+Rabbits is a total treat. They always go above and beyond the call of duty. I would highly recommend them.”

Justine Blacker Brand Manager, SA Rugby

The opportunity:
To widen the appeal of the Currie Cup without alienating the hardcore fan.

The Currie Cup is South Africa’s inter-provincial rugby tournament. It is the oldest rugby tournament of its kind in the world. Campaigns for rugby tournaments can quickly become a yawn-fest; TV spot – series of big tackles set to a thumping rock track, end on logo and tournament dates. Print ad – headline: “Pride, Passion, Loyalty” over an image of an epic tackle, etc. You get the picture. The client strongly felt that this precedent was ripe for disruption. We couldn’t have agreed more.

The insight:
If people don’t have passion for rugby, just telling them they should doesn’t create it.

Additionally, if a fan is committed and enthusiastic, then we really don’t need to win them over. So the well trodden ‘pride for province + passion for rugby’ path really wouldn’t move the needle with either the existing fan, or the potential new fan. So the question became, how could we do something different that ignites passion, and do it in a way that provokes interest and conversation? Our answer: with humor, question the thing a man cherishes most – his manhood.

The idea:
Unleash your inner 1891 man.

A campaign where a man’s proximity to rugby determines his level of manliness. A campaign that paid homage to 1891. They year the Currie Cup was created, and a time when men were men.

The execution:
A 360 campaign that was so manly it practically had to shave.

A TV spot, print, radio and social campaign that captured all that was epic about both Currie Cup rugby, and being a man. At the center of the campaign was the ‘1891 Man’ – sure to have been the Great Grandfather of Ron Burgundy. He didn’t actually speak in the TV spot, but certainly found his voice on social media. @1891Man was followed and celebrated by fans – existing and new.

The result:
Widened exposure. Greater engagement.

Existing fans embraced the fresh take on the tournament, and many who otherwise wouldn’t have even taken notice of a ‘rugby’ campaign joined the conversation. Although the focus was about getting in touch with your inner 1891 Man, women appreciated the humor, and fuelled the fire online. Social media engagement was up over 30% on the previous year. The campaign was written up and covered in a variety of publications and TV and radio shows.


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