Behind the scenes of the Rugby World Cup 2015 campaign

After last week's launch of the Rugby World Cup 2015 campaign starring Charles Dance, BBH Sport executive creative director explains how it all happened.

Rugby is a team sport. On and off the pitch. Yes there are raised tempers and the occasional thrown punch. But they’re between opposing no. 8s, never opposing fans.

The 'Too Big To Miss' campaign for our client England Rugby 2015, organisers of Rugby World Cup 2015 is all about capturing the inclusive nature of rugby.

We wanted epic but real, rousing but not worthy and emotional but also funny

When you’re selling Rugby World Cup  2015, you’re selling the third biggest sporting event in the world.

That’s 2.3 million seats that need bums put on them. We have to attract people who’ve never been to a game as well as those who never a miss a game.

From the start we had a clear vision for the film and getting the tone exactly right was a huge part of that.

We wanted epic but real, rousing but not worthy, emotional but also funny.

Going into production the big question was, who is going to deliver the talk? Ideally an actor with Shakespeare and rugby flowing through their veins in equal measure. 

Stand-up Mr Charles Dance. Fantastic actor. Fanatical rugby fan.

Also known as Tywin Lannister, who strikes fear into the heart of everyone in a game far fiercer than rugby, The Game of Thrones

The excellent script our creative team, Ed and Lewis, originally wrote evolved as we studied the great speeches from sport, politics and Hollywood.

Our director, the award-winning Peter Cattaneo, spent ages with Charles rehearsing, perfecting and making the words his. Having our very own Lawrence Dallaglio to cast an experienced-eye over the words was invaluable help. He’s done a few rousing team talks in his time.

Then came the creative question of how to squeeze hundreds of people into a room the size of a squash court.

After many conversations about post-production trickery we came around (as one invariably always does) to doing it for real and leaving the trickery to the editing.

While the creative question was how to fit everyone into one room, the logistical hurdle to clear was how to accumulate a cast of real players, legends and roles from within the game in under two weeks.

With some Premiership clubs on pre-season training camps and the Rugby Championship about to kick-off in the southern hemisphere, accruing a credible cast was no mean feat.

The three-day shoot was a logistical Rubik’s cube of a production for our producer Dave and his partner from Academy, Juliette, as well as key people at England Rugby 2015, who were an extension of our team as we worked together to deliver the film.

The finished film makes it look like everyone was in the room at the same time when actually very few people were there at the same time.

As challenging as it was it all came together well thanks to incredible attention to detail. From the choreographing of the "team" in the room to the choice of music – ‘Heart of Courage’ was an inspired pick by Peter and he played it throughout our three days in the Twickenham changing room to set the mood.

Ewan Paterson is executive creative director and Founder BBH Sport.





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