One of the most astounding campaigns of 2012 has to be the Bulls’ ’Get Your Pink On’, a campaign that demonstrated how a questionable change can be turned into good fortune with just a little lateral thinking.
Key sponsor Puma, which has a long-term deal to supply full technical kit to both the Blue Bulls and Bulls teams and is the official distributor of the teams’ match replica gear, unveiled a shocking pink and purple away jersey at the start of the 2012 Super Rugby season.
Supposedly inspired by the purple Jacaranda trees that characterise the Bulls’ hometown of Pretoria, the colour marked a significant image shift for the Bulls. In addition, the dramatic ‘smash’ design taking its lead from the phrase ‘bull in a china shop’ expressed the Bulls’ powerful playing style.
Fans either loved or hated the new shirt, and even those that loved it were a little taken back when Bulls management decided the team would adopt the away jersey for all matches.
The Bulls required a campaign to fill the Loftus Versveld stadium to maximum capacity (51 762 seats) for the derby against the Stormers.
When it suggested to advertising and communications partner, Swipe, that the pink jersey be the focus of the campaign, the agency immediately saw the benefit, agreeing that the Bulls teams with the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) and fans be challenged to turn Loftus pink.
The Bulls’ ‘Get your Pink on’ CANSA initiative was launched in press, radio and online as well as at http://www.getyourpinkon.co.za to create hype, to give people a reason to get behind the pink jersey, to go to the game at Loftus, and also to give them the opportunity to make donations toward this worthy cause.
To activate the campaign on the ground, CANSA provided a mobile health unit for clinical breast exams and skin examinations and ticket holders attending games at Loftus could also get their heads sprayed in pink or blue, white and black at ‘Sprayathon” stations inside the stadium.
The Bulls’ main sponsor, Vodacom, also promised to donate R20 000 for every try scored by the Bulls against the Stormers on the day.
‘Get your Pink On’ filled all 51 762 seats and raised a total of R501 920 for CANSA on the day of the match.
But the campaign has had residual impact, too. The number of women attending games has increased dramatically, and sales of the new pink jersey – at R599 – have outstripped those of the traditional blue.
“Often, it’s the simplest ideas that grab the public’s imagination and this was no exception. All we had to do was add the excitement, the sex appeal if you will, and the warm-hearted Bulls fans did the rest,” said Swipe managing director, Wimpie le Roux.
“I’d like to think that the idea of a ‘pink’ Loftus was one that never entered into anyone’s head, but it is a sight that many will treasure for many years to come.”
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