Even in the digital battle All Blacks are dominating Wallabies
There's a lot more to marketing rugby these days than advertising, media relations or sponsorships, says Hong Kong-based Kiwi Jeremy Woolf, a social media and digital specialist.
'Today's rugby customer interacts with their team via Twitter, Facebook and You Tube. With more than 3.4 million Hongkongers on Facebook - almost as many people as the population of New Zealand - the logic is hard to beat,' says Woolf.
'Smart marketers are latching onto these desires. They're producing content designed to be shared such as Air New Zealand's 'Crazy About Rugby' safety video or Rugby Channel's 'All Blacks Tricks and Skills' video, generating literally millions of views, and thousands of comments. The challenge will be converting this interest into tangible things like ticket sales, World Cup hospitality packages or merchandise sales,' says Woolf, who heads social media and digital at Text 100 global public relations consultancy.
However, when it comes to who's winning the battle for the digital Bledisloe the scoreboard tells the story. 'The All Blacks have more than 300 Facebook pages - compared to the Wallabies 51,' Woolf says. 'They have 11,500 Twitter followers to the Wallabies 4,637. They have 5,030 YouTube videos compared to the Wallabies' 1,370.'
Says an Aussie rugby supporter living in Hong Kong: 'I don't understand why there's so few clips about Australian rugby on YouTube. If you look at the All Blacks, there's a huge volume of clips. If you plug in Dan Carter, you'll be watching for days.'
He has a point. Apart from the thong-slapping haka developed for the Rugby World Cup in 2003 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quE8EhS4Zms) there doesn't seem much to laugh about on the net when it comes to the Australians' support for the Wallabies.