#BleedForEngland – PR and The Rugby World Cup

Sports events such as the world cup (Rugby and Football) have the potential to increase a business’s/cause’s public profile, but what happens when the campaign becomes a victim of the team or causes failure to live up to its full potential?

Give Blood and NHSBT launched their new campaign in the lead up to the Rugby World Cup in the UK in the hope to recruit 100,00 new donors. They did this by calling on a common trait of all Rugby fans – National Pride. Regardless of how negative we can be about our weather, our government etc, England is a proud nation, especially when it comes to sport. Campaign creators played on this to great effect by featuring the English Rose. What begins as a withered, shrivelled rose, is soon revived with donor’s blood until it stands resplendent at the end of the 30 second video that encourages viewers to “support England in a way that matters” by Bleeding for England. Voiced by the legend that is Sir John Hurt, who could resist this impassioned call to action?

The 2015 Rugby World Cup is the largest sporting event in the UK since the 2012 Olympic games and with this stature has come a wide range of campaigns from household names. We have been encouraged to “Make them Giants by O2 and have received lessons at the “School of Rugby” by Samsung. But what happens when the home nation fails to live up to the hype created by the many PR campaigns? Surely for any sporting event or celebrity endorsement you run the risk purely by association of being judged on the same merit as your partner – In Give Blood’s case, The England Rugby Team. The campaign #BleedForEngland has since disappeared from our TV screens (as have o2 and Samsung) which considering the importance of its message is both unfortunate and concerning. The shocking statistic featured in the video that less than 3% of the population give blood should be at the heart of this campaign not the pride of its citizens which as a rugby fan myself, hit rock bottom at the end of that fateful match.

Don’t get me wrong, the concept of the campaign is a great one in my humble opinion and has the potential to be hugely effective but associating it with a sports team who lost so early on in the tournament appears to have relegated it to the sin bin.


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