Something old, something borrowed, something new and something blue: AFL Grand Final


After a slightly contentious start to the AFL grand final week with Judd taking home the Brownlow Medal instead of bookies-favourite Swan, it’s time for the fun to begin.

You would have to be in a c-hocolate-induced c-oma to escape the excitement of the AFL grand final across the city. It’s everywhere from Federation Square, taken over by AFL sponsors and outdoor radio broadcasts, to colleagues critiquing the colour of your wardrobe choices. *Hangs head in shame*

And on Saturday, whether you’re drinking Crown Lager with the business elite in the VIP marquees surrounding the MCG or heading to a barbecue with friends, the AFL grand final has something for everyone.

From a communications perspective it’s the closest to an Australian version of the Super Bowl we have. And it’s an excellent way for large and small organisations to engage a huge audience of AFL fans and friends.

While we may not have the million dollar advertising spends and hype of the US Super Bowl, we are starting to see some truly creative partnerships between the AFL and businesses.

Staying with the Super Bowl for a moment, the billions of dollars companies pump into on commercials, both buying the time and creating them, has also paid off from a viral perspective. Months before and after the commercials are first shown there is huge chatter about them on social media platforms with many videos going viral. My favourite commercial from this year had to be Betty White and Snickers … comedy gold!

So what can communicator’s learn from Australia’s version of the Super Bowl?

Firstly, let’s look to the blue carpet of the Brownlows – and no I’m not going to talk about Brynne. The blue carpet is a great example of a sponsor making an element of a major event its own. Toyota turned the traditional red carpet into the blue carpet in 2009 for the launch of the new Toyota Prius and it’s now regularly discussed as part of fashion, social and even sporting commentary.

ACTION: What part of your next sponsorship can you make your own?

Secondly, take a leaf out of AFL’s book and make sure you have a good game plan for your communications. The AFL has become very good at extending the excitement of AFL across the year, with careful consideration given to the different activities and how people can get involved. We attended a PRIA Leadership Breakfast with AFL Media Manager Patrick Keane a few months back and learnt about the amazing amount of planning that goes into developing AFL events from January to December.

ACTION: Map out your communications activities for the year, identify the gaps and fill them up with new activities!

Thirdly, networking and relationship building is always easier to do when you can bond over a mutual interest. The AFL grand final is the perfect example of major companies using their client’s love of sport to entertain them and build relationships.

ACTION: Think about what mutual interests you share with your clients and search for opportunities to engage with them.

If you’re looking for inspiration on engaging community activities, head along to Federation Square this week. There’s prizes to be won courtesy of NAB, Origin Energy and a number of other sponsors. There’s also special club areas for AFL fans. And there’s a live outdoor broadcast by SYN FM. And of course there’s the big screen … which come game day will provide one of the best seats in the house.

Tomorrow, the city will grind to a halt for the annual grand final parade … and whether your team is in the grand final or not, it’s still a fun and enjoyable experience!


the c word

PS. Tell us on Monday what you thought of the coverage, the commercials and the comedy!!

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