Delighting fans at HK Sevens Rugby Week for Marriott
Marriott Rewards was sponsoring Hong Kong’s biggest sporting event – Hong Kong Sevens Rugby Week – for the very first time. We created and executed a campaign that created memorable experiences throughout the week, at four different venues. Through onsite activations and partnering with Golin for real-time social media engagement, Marriott Rewards made a lasting impression on the Hong Kong crowd.
HK Sevens was a crowded scene with long-standing, high-profile sponsors all vying for attention. The challenge was to help Marriott Rewards stand out from the noise and create extraordinary experiences for the target audiences, while staying true to the brand proposition of “Members Get More.”
The HK Sevens audience was very diverse—with locals, expats and foreigners who flew in for the event. We decided to focus on three core archetypes for this particular brand engagement:
- Rugby family: sports fans who enjoy the games, but also appreciate other entertainment opportunities
- Corporate jollies: individuals who have leveraged their connections to attend the games and want an exclusive, pampered experience
- Beer pressure: those committed to all three days of the games, and enjoy the fancy dress and party atmosphere now infamous at the HK Sevens
Insight and strategy
HK Sevens can be very overwhelming – rowdy crowds, hot and humid atmosphere, intoxicated groups in fancy dress crammed like sardines at the South Stand, less than desirable restrooms… Could Marriott Rewards help elevate the whole experience and make everything a little nicer? Just as the rewards program excels at bringing better experiences and deals to its members, we aimed to create valuable experiences and remove pain points so people could better enjoy the games.
Show that Marriott Rewards gives you more and elevates your experiences.
To engage target audiences from every angle, at every event, we leveraged offline ambassadors and online social listening to surprise and delight fans across the entire HK Sevens Rugby Week. From coaching and meet & greet sessions with rugby legends, VIP lounge access, cushioned seats, massages, to claw machines and popcorn, all the touchpoints were designed to bring smiles to people’s faces and make the Sevens experience a lot more enjoyable.
Lan Kwai Fong Carnival: a street party with live music and performance. Marriott Rewards branding was prominently featured on the archway to the event and on life-sized Instagram frames. Tickets to the games are always in popular demand, so in order to give more people a chance to experience the Sevens, we launched a social media competition for people to win tickets to the Marriott Rewards Executive Suite at the Hong Kong Stadium.
Kick-off Concert: a ticketed event hosted by David Hasselhoff with live music from Proclaimers & Bjorn Again. The event featured a photo booth equipped with props to encourage sharing and participation in the social media competition. An elevated VIP lounge offered fans the best view of stage performances; the lounge included prominent branding at the bar, on rugby ball-shaped cushions, toys, napkins and entertainment such as the claw machine, to large LED branded balloons that were released from the main stage during break time.
Chater Garden Family Festival: a public event with rugby-themed activations and a live broadcast of games. At this event, we highlighted Marriott Rewards’ new kids program, MAX!. Members’ kids got exclusive access to rugby coaching sessions hosted by rugby legends and reinforced with branded popcorn van, rugby toys and buggy parking.
Hong Kong Stadium: where all the action took place. Real time social listening enabled audience engagement opportunities as people shared their Sevens experiences on Instagram. Selected winners were instantly rewarded with upgraded passes to the Marriott Rewards Executive Suite, designed to be an oasis amidst the hectic stadium. The suite offered open air space, premium F&B, massages, cushioned seats and opportunity to meet rugby legends. Winners shared their experiences in the suite using the hashtag #MembersGetMore for social amplification. Our energetic Marriott Rewards ambassadors also engaged audiences in other parts of the stadium with dance performances and photo-ops.
“Jack Morton and Golin truly brought their integrated online and offline activation to life, delivering great impact and results for Marriott Rewards and maximizing our sponsorship at the HK Sevens Rugby Week 2016.”
– Anka Twum-Baah, Vice President, Customer Loyalty & Content, Marriott International
- Creative concept and development
- Experience design
- Set design
- Premiums design and production
- Talent management
- Social media campaign
- Event production
Through a week of activations, Marriott Rewards flew past the goal posts – demonstrating the value proposition of #MembersGetMore in a truly integrated fashion, driving awareness and engagement both online and offline at the four activation venues.
“The best thing was that they really took care of us. Not only were we treated like winners, we were treated like VIP winners. You don’t often get that! Thank you, Marriott Rewards AP, for the incredible experience! My friends were certainly envious of me after seeing the photos posted.”
– Criselle Aleri, blogger, winner of Marriott Rewards VIP experience
- Marketing Events Awards Gold, Best Sponsorship Activation (July 21, 2016)
- Golin, PR