Havas PR Wins Awards for Rugby So Gay at Prisms 2017

Havas PR walked away with two silver awards for campaign of the year and PR on a shoestring at the recently held 2017 PRISA Prism Awards. The awards were both awarded to Rugby So Gay, a Jozi Cats Rugby Club campaign that sought to create a safe space for LGBTQIA+ people in rugby by challenging gay stereotypes.

Speaking on the win, Lynn Madeley, CEO of Havas Southern Africa said, “We are proud of the work we delivered to Jozi Cats and the impact it had on the club and the sporting arena in South Africa and beyond. It’s work like this, work that impacts people’s lives that I believe is shaping the future of the entire marketing sector.”

Rugby So Gay was aimed at raising awareness and encouraging LGBTQIA+ men interested in rugby to join Jozi Cats. The campaign turned gay stereotypes on their head by appending gay slurs to each existing team member, except, each team member looked nothing like the stereotype. This content, with a press release was sent to agenda setting media titles in sport, LGBTQIA+, news and community beats and the result was explosive. Media interviews were set up with local media outlets and global media picked up on it, sparking worldwide conversation on inclusivity in sport.

Rugby So Gay Havas PR “This campaign is a great proof point of simple mechanics, that is, compelling content and hyper-targeted media engagement, yielding great outcomes. That done well raised a great deal of awareness and jump started global conversation on a pertinent issue in sport. It was really a job well done,” said Larry Khumalo, Head Consultant at Havas PR.

The campaign reached an audited audience of 315 million people in 129 countries. The club grew from three members to 61 players within the year, and inspired the formation of three other clubs. The club was also invited to field a World XV team at the Union Cup, the biennial non-professional gay rugby tournament in Madrid, Spain – the first time a non-European team was invited to compete in the event. In April 2017, the club announced a sponsorship deal with Exclusive Books, a move that is unprecedented in amateur rugby in South Africa.

This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Prism Awards, and they were hosted in Hyde Park, Johannesburg at The Park House of Events on 7.