This week was the final opportunity for Irish Rugby’s World cup bound stars to do their bit for their corporate backers in a team and an individual environment.
The ability to chat to the players outside of the more formal environment of the team press briefings allows for content to appear across the media, giving insight to the way a player is thinking but also exposure for the product they are promoting.
It’s more than a deal between player and brand, it is also a pact between the player, the media and the public.
In olden times the most important element in a journalists bag of tricks was the little black book with the names and numbers of the stars. Now the black book has been swapped for a phone and the most important point of access is the ping of an email invitation from one of the leading PR companies with an invitatiion to meet Rory or Rob, Kellie or Ciara and get time with them.
Across the media this morning we get to hear Rory Best’s thoughts on leadership, fitness and bouncing back from the defeat against England.
In Pundit Arena he says that “You’ve got to listen and know what your squad is like. You’ve kind of got to know who responds to what and the beauty of it is, like in any organisation, the business of rugby, different people respond in different ways.”
In the Irish Examiner he explains one of the fitness drills that the forwards were put through, with the ‘help’ of the backs after that defeat.
“You just lie on your back. Two people lie in top of you (Niall Scannell and Seán Cronin). You have to fight them off, pick up a ball up, run into somebody else, do your body bag, place it, while he lies on you.
“You have to throw him off and get up again. You do six of those, twice around.”
These are the little insights that fans enjoy, that build a picture of character and personality, and keep the machine turning.
The quid pro quo is that we carry a picture like that above, together with some of the content about the brand. It’s perfect for Sport for Business because our niche is in the commercial side of sport.
It also works for the mainstream media in that they get to publish material that might not otherwise be available to them in an ever more structured world of media comment.
As to the pitch, Best tells us that he is “incredibly proud to continue in my role as Specsavers Audiologists ambassador as we work together to break down unnecessary stigmas associated with hearing loss.”
“The ‘Don’t Suffer in Silence’ campaign is an always on message focusing on the importance of hearing health. We launched the campaign in April this year but it’s important to keep talking and keep the conversation going.”
There is a personal connection to this as well with Best’s own father suffering from hearing loss.
Nearly 70 percent of Irish adults have not had their hearing tested in five years. The fact that your life can be improved through a simple check is an important message.
With the best will in the world, hearing that from the captain of the Irish Rugby team wil always carry more clout than seeing it as a message in an ad spoken by an audiologist.
Image Credits: Dan Sheridan, Inpho.ie