Rugby World Cup 2019: every ad so far

From pint-pullers to price-comparison websites, brands have come out in force to celebrate the tournament.

Rugby World Cup: taking place in Japan
Rugby World Cup: taking place in Japan

This year, more than 500,000 rugby fans have made their way to the Land of the Rising Sun to watch one of the world's biggest sporting events: the Rugby World Cup.

More than 1.7 million tickets have been sold ahead of the competition’s 48 matches, with fans across the UK sacrificing last Sunday morning to watch Ireland thrash their Six Nations rival Scotland during the opening weekend.

With six international partners, eight official sponsors and 20 countries hoping to tackle their way to the finals on 2 November, Campaign has put together a list of hard-hitting spots making an appearance during this year’s Rugby World Cup.

Heineken 'The delay' by Publicis Italy

Eager to show its support for the tournament, Heineken reached out to rugby novices with this campaign.

Nurturing a sense of national pride, the ad shines a spotlight on seasonal fans hoping to enjoy the Rugby World Cup without really knowing how the sport is played. From awkwardly following the crowd’s reactions to unwarranted cheering, the characters' fumbles reassure viewers that "you don’t need to know all the rules to enjoy the Rugby World Cup".

The work was written by Claudia Illan, art directed by Hugo Wahledow and directed by Megaforce through Iconoclast Paris. 

Confused.com 'Rugby World Cup idents' by Karmarama

Connecting the power and strategy of rugby to traditional Japanese concepts, Confused.com released a series of Japan-inspired idents to air throughout the Rugby World Cup.

The idents show players acting out notions such as wa (harmony comes before the self), nintai (with perseverance we can endure the unbearable) and danshari (the Marie Kondo-esque notion that there is art in decluttering), in order to give viewers a different perspective on the sport.

The work was created by Josh Welton and Jon Coates, and directed by Basak Erol through Blink. It first aired during the opening ceremony on 20 September.

Land Rover 'It's what makes rugby, rugby' by Spark44

Worldwide Rugby World Cup partner Land Rover focused on the intensity of the sport at grassroots level for its campaign.

The spot shows children around the world showing off their skills on the pitch. While a boy storms across the field shouting "I move like a ballerina", another held back by a tackle boasts: "I hardly move at all." 

Released during England’s first game, the work was created by Mike Boles and Jerry Hollens, and directed by Ben Liam Jones through Riff Raff. The media agency is Dentsu Aegis Network.

O2 'Be their armour' by VCCP

Marking its 24-year sponsorship of the England rugby team (the longest-running shirt sponsorship in the world), O2 took inspiration from samurai culture with "Be their armour".

The 90-second film sees Japanese-style armour (bearing England’s rose emblem) forged and fitted to captain Owen Farrell and teammates Maro Itoje, Jonny May, Ben Youngs, Courtney Lawes and Elliot Daly, who then race into the woods on horseback with their fans proudly by their side.

Created by James Rafter and Myles Vincent, and directed by Sam Brown through Rogue Films, the ad is based on the idea that fans' support is the armour England need to win the trophy.

It was released alongside by a six-episode content series, featuring former England rugby player-turned-pundit Ugo Monye and TV personality Jamie Laing as they discover the power and influence of rugby in Japan.

Paddy Power 'Japan Slam'

Bookmaker Paddy Power launched a wacky six-part "Japanese-themed" YouTube series in an attempt to entertain fans between matches.

Launched ahead of the first match between Russia and host nation Japan, the series featured WWE wrestler Sheamus, former Irish lock Donncha O’Callaghan and ex-jockey Ruby Walsh (as well as the comically slender character of Paddy Power himself) as they attempted a range of Japanese-influenced challenges, including an eating competition, a samurai challenge and, of course, sumo-wrestling.

Mastercard lets fans experience full force of rugby tackle

As a partner of the Rugby World Cup, Mastercard gave rugby fans the chance to feel the wrath of their favourite England players via a simulated experience in London’s Exchange Square, giving new meaning to its hope of "bringing [fans] closer to their passion".

With the help of one of Elon Musk’s Teslasuits, which can transmit vibrations at the programmed points of impact, any willing fan over the age of 16 could enjoy a professional-standard tackle from Chris Robshaw, Maggie Alphonsi and Jason Robinson (though not all at once).

Canon 'History in the taking' by VCCP

As one of the Rugby World Cup’s official sponsors, Canon enlisted the help of former England captain Martin Johnson to talk through the brand’s historic role in the sport.

Johnson discusses lifting the 2003 trophy, as photographed by Getty Images’ Dave Rogers. The pair chat about the famous photo's context while the image is streamed on to a giant screen in Twickenham Stadium.

In addition to a French-speaking spot starring former player Philippe Bernat-Salles, the camera brand also offered customers the chance to win a holiday to Japan by registering a recent Canon purchase via the brand’s website.

The work was created by Pete Bastiman and David Aylesbury, and directed by Ben Jones through Absolute Post. The media agency is PHD.

ITV 'Rise for the Rugby World Cup' by ITV Creative

As well as showing every match of the tournament, alongside in-match highlights, features and stats, ITV celebrated its foothold on the Rugby World Cup with an anime-style campaign.

The work features fans from the home nations as they fall asleep in a series of inconspicuous places. Each dreamer is transformed to a hallucinogenic world of anime, 16-bit gaming and (of course) rugby. Thankfully, the fans wake up just before their home side is about to kick off.

Set to the sound of Jaden Smith's Goku (which is inspired by classic anime Dragon Ball Z), the work was created by Anthony Dziworshie and directed by Keith McCarthy and Golden Wolf through Stink.

Guinness 'Liberty fields' by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

As the title sponsor and official beer of the Six Nations, Guinness was more than happy to celebrate its rugby roots with a new spot.

The ad shines a spotlight on the trials and tribulations of Japan’s first international female rugby squad, who defied the social conventions of 1989 Tokyo to represent their country at the Women’s World Cup. 

Launched alongside a five-minute documentary featuring insights from the original Liberty Fields team, the spot was part of the brand’s long-running "Made of more" campaign, which has been promoting inclusivity in rugby since 2014.

Other spots featured in the campaign include "The purse", detailing the adventures of three brothers who spend their late mum’s remaining money on the Six Nations; "Sisters", which followed the on-pitch rivalry between the Millar-Mills siblings; and 2015’s "Never alone", which highlighted the emotional hardships of the sport’s first openly gay player, Gareth Thomas.

The work was written by by Alex Grieve, art directed by Adrian Rossi and directed by Eliot Rausch through Stink. The media agency is Carat.

O2 'Wear the rose live' by M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment

Back in July, O2 was the first brand to show its excitement ahead of the Rugby World Cup by announcing a festival for fans to show support for England.

As well as live music and carnival stalls, "Wear the rose live" allowed fans to meet the England team before they left for Japan.

Team members also manned rugby games across the festivals, with appearances from legends including Jonny Wilkinson and Ugo Monye.

M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment worked with Sledge, VCCP and Hope & Glory to deliver the project.