NRL introduces ‘new era’ to address last seasons’ ‘missed opportunities’ in major ad campaign

The National Rugby League (NRL) has launched its annual premiership campaign, this year focusing on the sport’s “new era”.

Created by its agency of record R/GA Sydney, the campaign addresses the pressure, expectations, missed opportunities of last season and the consequences of failure NRL players often feel.

Starring North Queensland Cowboy player Jason Taumalolo, the 90 second ad includes a coach reminding the athletes who they play for.

Also appearing in the ad is Melbourne Storm star Josh Addo-Carr and his grandfather, who was once a champion boxer.

Throughout the ad players are seen training, boxing, addressing fans and getting amped up for a game.

Last year R/GA Sydney launched its first work for the company ‘This is How We League’.

The campaign was about bringing out fans’ passion for the game and helping people share that love.

Craig Brooks, ECD at R/GA Sydney, said the campaign was intended to be engaging and inclusive.

“The NRL fanbase is divided into wildly-disparate heartlands, and our challenge was to bring their stories together, and to life.

“We created something packed full of community mythology, club subplots, and player insights…if you know what you’re looking for…but it equally stands alone as an authentic snapshot of our culture.”

Glendyn Ivin, who has been involved in TV and film projects including Puberty Blues, Safe Harbour and The Cry, was the director of the ad.

“I love the energy of this campaign. Like the game itself there’s a powerful mix of poetry and raw athleticism.

“Working closely with the players and their stories has lent a documentary-like feeling of intimacy. It reflects the new players stepping up and the people they play for,” Ivin added.

The campaign will also involve a series of short films featuring behind the scenes footage and insights from the players.

Peter Jarmain, head of marketing at NRL, said the campaign aims to focus on the future of the game.

“This season represents a pivotal year for the game. Whilst many great players have retired, a new generation of young talent is emerging, and exciting fans like never-before. We have a world class venue opening this year, that will redefine the event experience for new and existing fans from a number of clubs.

“New concepts like Magic Round Brisbane, and the Women’s Premiership (now entering its second year), provide a vehicle to strengthen the connection with our avid fans, but importantly connect the game with new audiences.

“A refreshed visual brand for the Telstra Premiership, also provides a catalyst to signal this new era of the game. From a communications standpoint, we need to leverage these exciting additions, but also seek to reinforce the connection between clubs and their local communities, which is core to our competition. This campaign is one of many initiatives that will tackle this strategy.”

The campaign has been released months after R/GA’s regional ECD vice president, Bob Mackintosh, left the agency.

That same month R/GA’s Australian MD, Rebecca Bezzina, also departed.

The agency has since hired Seamus Higgins as its regional chief creative officer.


    R/GA Sydney
    Exit Films
    Director: Glendyn Ivin
    Producer: Alice Grant
    DOP: Sam Chiplin
    Song Zu
    Blue 449
    Peking Duk, “Say My Name”
    Anton @ Trailer Media
    National Rugby League
    Head of Marketing: Peter Jarmain
    Senior Marketing Manager – Premiership: Nicole Chesher
    Marketing Manager – Premiership & Consumer Business: Rita Khouri

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