England Rugby has launched 'We Call it Rugby' - a national campaign to grow participation and re-engagement amongst 16-24 year-olds.
The unique campaign, created in partnership with VICE Media which challenges traditional rugby stereotypes, is fronted by a series of short documentaries that profile five stories told by a group of young and very different individuals, but who all share one thing in common; their love for the sport.
The series of videos has been built in a way that brings to life the personal narratives of young rugby players, telling the stories of how rugby plays a significant role in their lives. These stories belong to Sammy Green from Bow, east London, who has used rugby to turn his trouble-filled life around and south east Londoner Jake Smyth who recognised that his life was heading down the wrong path before receiving mentoring from Sammy Green, earning himself a place at Blackheath Academy; charismatic identical twins India and Georgie Perris-Redding from Crewe who have their eyes firmly fixed on a career in the national women's squad; Yorkshire's Peter, George and Joe Altham – Peter and George who are both deaf and each share their brother Joe's passion for the game; the Manchester Village Spartans RUFC, made up of heterosexual players and members from the LGBT community and Bristol's LJ Brown, disruptive as a child and diagnosed with mild autism, LJ was placed at a residential school where he established his love for the game.
Building on the anticipated increase in interest that the Rugby World Cup will generate in England, a key element of the Union's legacy strategy is to target 16-24 year-olds who are completely new to the game, as well as bringing lapsed players back. We Call it Rugby is a key enabler to support this work.
The digital campaign will be rolled out throughout the duration of the Rugby World Cup and beyond across multiple platforms, including EnglandRugby.com and @EnglandRugby on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and will combine the five documentaries with a 30 second teaser clip and eye-catching still visuals to support.
This campaign is the first of its kind for England Rugby, marking a momentous occasion in the Union's history by forging never-done-before partnerships with youth media platforms to amplify We Call it Rugby to 16-24 year-olds. To help build its awareness amongst this key audience ahead of the official campaign launch, England Rugby worked with internet sensation and vlogger, Joe Sugg, who has over five million subscribers to his YouTube channel by creating engaging content for use across Sugg's and the Union's social media channels.
Chief commercial & marketing officer, England Rugby, Sophie Goldschmidt, commented: "We Call it Rugby is a fresh and exciting campaign that uses genuine content to tell the stories of young people who many can relate to and who have the potential to be inspiring role models.
"We have pushed many boundaries with this campaign, exploring avenues and approaches that are new to England Rugby and extremely relevant to this audience.
"We believe that We Call it Rugby has the power to get more people who can see a little bit of themselves in our documentary stars to find their nearest club and get involved."
Steve Grainger, rugby development director, England Rugby, added: "We launched our Lead up and Legacy strategy back in October 2012 and have been working since then to broaden the reach of the game. One of our key objectives is to bring back 16-24 year-old players that have moved away from the game.
"England Rugby has been working closely with a number of partners to do this and we are confident that this campaign will be a powerful driving force in supporting this. We look forward to seeing how the campaign rolls out over the coming weeks."
Click here to watch the 30 second teaser and five documentaries.
To find your nearest club visit www.findrugby.com