Rugby Australia rebrands

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A new era for the Australian Rugby Union, now named Rugby Australia, or Rugby AU for short, has been unveiled across the Ditch with the unveiling of a new brand identity created by Sydney-based creative agency Digilante.

Digilante was tasked with representing Rugby Australia’s progression to become a more relevant, inclusive and accessible sport that appeals to today’s broader and more diverse audiences.

The Rugby Australia brand evolution has been over a year in development and was delivered in time to support Rugby Australia’s move to a new, state-of-the-art corporate HQ in Sydney’s Moore Park. Part of a broader organisational change, the new Rugby AU brand is seen as the changing face of the game.

Digilante ECD Eric O’Brien said: “Reinventing such an iconic, long-standing organisation required a lot of listening and understanding to confidently propose a new identity that fans, stakeholders and participants alike would be proud to connect with.

“The rebrand needed to reflect a deep organisational change that is more significant than a corporate face lift. So Digilante used the rebrand as an opportunity to restart a positive conversation around Rugby and what it has to offer to individuals, teams and communities.

“Rugby AU represents not only the Wallabies and our elite national teams, but also the boys and girls, men and women of all shapes and sizes who are inspired to pick up a footie, have fun playing with others and experiencing the sense of belonging that rugby can bring.

“Our message to all Australians is that if they are part of rugby, they are part of much more than a game!”

“At its heart, we wanted to create a future-focused identity, one that embraces diversity and enables Rugby to deliver on its objectives in appealing to future participants. Ultimately, it is about celebrating the human qualities of Australia’s great global game by showing rugby in a new light.”

The announcement precedes a larger, national launch of Rugby AU to the public, planned for early 2018 with the start of the new rugby season and junior registration sign-up. “In presenting a more consistent brand, Rugby AU is redefining its corporate structure and game formats to align under a new, more consistent brand family,” O’Brien said.

“The new name and logo will be supported by a community-focused brand campaign that showcases individual stories across every level and highlights a shared narrative around how rugby is more than just a game.

The launch will also include a website and social plan accompanied by a digital media strategy.

O’Brien: “The project is the result of an extensive body of research rugby conducted in 2016 and reflects the thoughts and ideas of a passionate Australian community. The research helped Rugby AU to better understand the many challenges their sport is facing in today’s rapidly changing landscape, and to focus on making rugby more accessible, more inclusive and more relevant from today into the future.”

Rugby Australia ceo Bill Pulver said: “We are thrilled with our brand evolution that will be revealed over time. Our new identity embodies rugby’s shared vision to inspire all Australians to enjoy our great global game, and is the first step in our broader strategy to re-define rugby for future growth, with a message to all Australians that if they are part of rugby, they are part of much more than a game.”

“Asexual, non-binary, provenance-free, and stirs no emotion – therefore brand-free!”

Rugby Australia head of digital Adam Freier said: “Digilante have done a fantastic job in answering this brief, it’s a significant time for rugby in Australia, and there are a lot of positives for the growth of our game.

“We really wanted to highlight the sense of belonging and identity that can be achieved through Rugby, and communicate it in a culturally relevant way. I am looking forward to Australia seeing this rebrand as it continues to roll out early next year and inspire more Australians to play rugby.

“The rebrand represents an important new step towards a broader national initiative designed to reinvigorate rugby in Australia with the introduction of new initiatives for the growth of the game at every level. These include introducing new formats in 2018 designed to make rugby more accessible to more schools and clubs across the country.”

But …
The rebrand did not meet with universal approval among Australians when the story was posted at the Campaign Brief Australia site:

  • Yuck said: More Interbrand wanabees.
  • Logo not a brand said: Ok…this follows the equally generic Australian Open logo.
  • Anon said: Asexual, non-binary , provenance free. And stirs no emotion. Therefore brand-free.
  • Stan said: Got almost to the bottom of the PR blurb and found myself wondering what on earth Adam Ferrier had to do with this. Then I realised it was actually some guy called Adam Freier. Time I went for an I test me thinks!
  • Kicking goals said: Glad to finally see the ARU (Rugby AU) marketing doing something positive for the code. I hope they live up to their grass roots promise!
  • I’m with Logo not a brand said: This sort of stuff is anti-design.
  • Blue42 said: Bold design and great to see ARU championing a sense of belonging through sport. Look forward to seeing more from these guys!

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