Chemistry Pays Tribute to Late Rugby Star Jonah Lomu with Irish Examiner
When the news of Jonah Lomu’s sudden death was announced last November, Chemistry and the Irish Examiner, a national newspaper with a great sporting heritage, wanted to pay tribute to the huge contribution Lomu made not only to rugby in New Zealand but to rugby history.
Chemistry’s solution was to take the image of the All Black logo of the Silver Fern and concept it in the shape of an eye squeezed shut with a single frond, like a tear falling. The only copy was the years of Jonah’s birth and death.
The day after his death, the Irish Examiner featured the concept on its front page and on its website homepage. Running it on the front pages gave the tribute true editorial stature. The creative was also seeded to relevant sporting websites, journalists, influencers and bloggers.
This was a truly social campaign – people shared it because it truly meant something to them and summed up how affected they felt at the death of Jonah Lomu. It was also a strong and genuine indication of how seriously the Irish Examiner feels about the importance of sport and sporting heroes.
Social Media results
· Campaign content received over 400,000 social media engagements (likes, shares, comments, RT's etc.)
· Campaign content was shared to a social audience of over 6 million
· The #IrishExaminer trended within hours of the image being launched online – initially overnight in New Zealand and South African regions.
· The #IrishExaminer trended on Twitter internationally multiple times throughout the campaign – across at least 7 regions including New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.
· The content achieved 1,000's of image uploads to Instagram, Pinterest boards, Facebook cover photos and Twitter profile pics.
· Campaign content was extensive shared by sporting influencers including Peter Stringer, Mario Melchiot, Des Kelly, Munster Rugby, Irish Rugby and The All Blacks social media accounts.
- The PR value this campaign created is estimated by the Irish Examiner at €750,000
· The content received coverage in over 50 articles across international news websites in France, Italy, South Africa, UK and New Zealand.
· These included - the Telegraph, Stuff NZ, Yahoo News, NZ Herald and Allblacks.com internationally and Her.ie, Joe.ie, Balls.ie, Broadsheet.ie, Breakingnews.ie and lecool.com in Ireland.
The Human Response
And there are some results you can’t put a value on such as how much the people of NZ positively responded to the campaign. This was real testimony to how much this tribute captured how people felt about Lomu.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister, John Key, on national TV said, “Get your people, get them to go and look at the Irish Examiner, if you haven’t looked at it. The front page of the Irish newspaper, did you see this? Here’s the silver fern, front page, with one frond coming off like a tear, with Jonah Lomu and his years. Amazingly powerful.”
In Sky New Zealand’s coverage of the Jonah Lomu Memorial Service in Eden Park on 30 November 2015, the image of the fern teardrop was used extensively, including showing the front page of the Irish Examiner and using an animated version of the falling frond in the final scene of the programme.
However, most touching of all was that this was the symbol that the Lomu family chose to mourn his passing. At Lomu’s funeral, his no 11 shirt draping his coffin featured the design, both of his young sons wore black t-shirts bearing the image, as did the pall bearers. Many of his family and friends also wore these t-shirts at the memorial. This has been the most momentous result of all.
Just before Christmas, after New Zealand media revealed that Jonah Lomu had died insolvent, the New Zealand Rugby Players Association set up a trust. Chemistry and the Irish Examiner transferred all copyright to the trust, to be used for the benefit of his two young sons.
Category: Newspapers , Publications and media
Genre: Digital , PR , Print