Engage Super League: Rugby Fit Challenge

The Brief

Financial services provider Engage Mutual – the then-sponsor of the rugby Super League – wanted to use PR to drive share of voice in health-related issues during its final year as title sponsor.

The two key objectives were to:
1.  Promote Engage Mutual’s title sponsorship of the Super League
2. Develop and deliver a relevant health campaign to generate high quality media coverage for Engage Mutual on a national and regional level to rugby fans and the wider sports audience

In 2012, the campaign won a CIPR PRide Gold award for Best Sporting Campaign.  Judges said the campaign was: “…a great way to secure interest in what otherwise would be another sponsorship story. A worthy GOLD winner.

Our Response

Theme: Our strategy was to juxtapose rugby league’s impact on the body – to generate the media news hook – with a bespoke, rugby league-themed injury prevention fans’ exercise regime.

News: We came up with the idea of some unique research, conducting a never-before-completed poll of physiotherapists at each of the 14 Super League clubs to find the most common injuries suffered by players.

Photography idea: This research gave us the media news hook, however, it was the idea for the image and the execution of the photography which raised the campaign from good to memorable.

We hired a leading UK body paint artist to paint the injuries on the body of a leading Super League player and captured the process with time-lapse photography.  An on-pitch photography session captured some stunning still images.

Engagement: To drive home the Engage/health angle, we created a fan exercise regime – the ‘Rugby Fit Challenge’ (see below) – designed exclusively by a rugby league strength and conditioning coach with the backing of two high-profile rugby league stars: Huddersfield captain Eorl Crabtree and England Ladies captain, Natalie Gilmour.

Tapping into Engage’s existing presence at the Super League Grand Final Fanzone, a number of the Rugby Fit Challenge exercises were made available for fans to try.  Hard copies of the Challenge were given to fans on the day and the guide was made available as a downloadable PDF from the Engage website.


Engage rugby fit challenge 440



Stunning still photography and a time-lapse camera brought to life a clever piece of health-related research that generated a 5million+ audience reach.

The campaign culminated with an experiential sporting event at Old Trafford, used by thousands.

Media Coverage

Highlights of the coverage included:
•    Rolling, two-minute segment on Sky Sports News (1.8m) used five times during the day
•    ITV Calendar used our time-lapse footage on two bulletins, with the Engage Super League logo on screen for 16 seconds of a 26-second story
•    The Sun picture exclusive
•    The Yorkshire Post ¾-page lead picture story on page 3
•    The  Yorkshire Evening Post full-page lead picture story on page 3
•    League Weekly
•    League Express

Total media audience: 5m+

Engage rugby fit challenge Ryan Hall standing 440


The Rugby Fit Challenge

We secured the services of a rugby league strength and conditioning coach to produce an eight-point rugby league-based training regime for fans.  Tens of thousands of fans attended The Grand Final Fanzone at  Old Trafford and thousands participated in various activities which included four of the eight Rugby Fit Challenge tests.



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