After experiencing the Rugby World Cup in Australia in 2003, I knew I couldn’t miss the opportunity to head over the ditch for the RWC 2011 to watch Australia vs. Ireland at Eden Park Auckland on Saturday 19th Sept.
As soon as I arrived at Sydney Airport at 5am and saw a sea of green, it was then I reconsidered my tipping choice in the Ignite RWC Tipping comp, I knew the Wallabies were in for a fight.
By the time the plane touched down in Auckland 11:25am the Irish supporters were keen to get off the plane as quickly as possible and get straight to the nearest pub!
The night before the Australia vs. Ireland game I went to ‘Party Central’ in downtown Auckland to watch NZ vs. Japan and this is where you really felt the RWC buzz around town. Again the Irish stood out from the crowd but looking around there were supporters for all teams participating in the RWC 2011. We finally got into ‘The Cloud’ where there was a constant humming sound from Kiwi supporters getting behind the All Blacks!
It was at ‘Party Central’ where I first notice the sleekness of the official sponsors and especially the alcohol partners. Heineken was a great example of smart on ground integration with all bars and pubs around ‘Party Central’ only selling Heineken on tap!
It was game day… and I was definitely pumped up to get to out on the street and get amongst the atmosphere before heading out to the ground. As soon as I left my hotel with my Wallabies scarf on I was heckled and reminded that Ireland were serious contenders in tonight’s match! We decided as a group that the best way to get out to the ground was to walk the Fan Trail from downtown Auckland to Eden Park stopping at all the Irish pubs on the way.
These type of events that come around 1 in every 4 years are the type of events advertisers should be involved in. The audience are completely engaged with the purpose of attending and are happy to take in the full experience including sponsor activity and what it has to offer. The audience is positive and when referring back to their RWC 2011 memories you can’t help but remember the advertisers that sponsored the event and align them with a positive memorable once in a lifetime experience, giving sponsors automatic connection to the brand.
The final whistle sounded and Ireland had beaten Australia for the first time in Rugby World Cup history! They not only won the game on the pitch but they won it off the field as well. Auckland was painted green for the entire weekend!
Overall my RWC 2011 experience was incredible, even if the Wallabies didn’t get up! We’re still in playoffs! Go the Wallabies!