Sep 16, 2008

Case study

Please excuse me since what will follow will have little to do with email marketing.

I want to take some time and talk a little about what is according to me a great marketing campaign: The Stade-Français Paris Rugby club.

Before proceeding, for my unfortunate American readers not knowing what is Rugby: well it's just like American football for men ;-).

To start with I'll give a quick background, to understand the map of the problem you have to know a few things about Rugby and especially Rugby in France:

Rugby is an English ball game (as all ball games really). That came to France near the end of the 19th century.
At that time a game of students, it came to the Paris universities through student teams.
The Stade-Français was one of them.
Most of the first official championships where won byt he Stade-Français in these old days, but after a while, the north of France got back to Football (Soccer) and Rugby exploded in the south of France.

Progressively the Stade-Français got down the ladder and leagues. Until becomming a small club playing regional leagues.

At the end of the 1990's a man came, his name was Max Guazzini. At that time I was a Stade-Français player (Junior team) and I remember this Jet Set kind of guy standing before us telling how the Stade-Français would recover its status of major French Team.

This was kind of funny for us since Rugby was not a major Game in Paris anymore (and it hadn't been for years) - although The Racing Club de France won once the first league in the 80's.

To have a big club, you need supporters...
They push your players on the field and - of course - they are granting you a lot of money.

So the problem was then to get Parisians back to the Rugby stadium.

Compared to Football, Rugby is gathering a nice percentage of women to the stadium, the Stade-Français therefore had to bring women back to the stadium as well - this also helps gathering men... (It was the first focus made)

To make it simple I will try (out of memory) to give you a time lined list of actions Max Guazzini took... I'm still amazed :)

- Free entry to the stadium for women
- Calendar of naked Stade-Français players (Dieux du Stade) (this made a HUGE buzz and of course triggered women's interest)
- Launching half time cheerleaders shows (Men where then back in business)
- The stadium is kind of small (holding 12 000 people) and one of the greatest tricks Max Guazzini pulled was to rent the Parc des Princes and then the Stade de France for major games during the season with Superball like shows before and after the game. he did a lot of street advertising across Paris and radio stations. Everyone called him nuts but the stadiums where full each time.

The funny thing with all this is that I sometimes receive email announcements since I have (had in fact) season tickets but it always was announcements, never have I received any third party emails from the Stade-Français nor ever received any Stade-Français advertising from any other list...

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