London IrishRedefining what it means to be an exile

The Exile Nation campaign resulted in the club receiving a record number of new Season Ticket purchases.

katy bigos, marketing manager, london irish rugby club

London Irish approached us to help create a campaign for their move back to London from Reading, to help them navigate the difficult waters of moving away from a fanbase that they have played in front of for over a decade, to a brand new stadium in Brentford in an area that is already congested with rival Rugby clubs.

 

Our objectives were to raise the profile of London Irish and connect with a new and existing audience in equal measure.

Traditionally rugby club campaigns have targeted a stereotypical sport aesthetic – focussed on the speed and aggression of the game, but they fail to engage with the wider demographics that Rugby as a sport really resonates with – families.

Their nickname ‘The Exiles’ already nods to the club’s heritage as a home away from home for nomad Irish men and women. Today it is still appropriate; showcasing their strength as a club for anyone and everyone to belong to, regardless of status, ethnicity, gender or background. It’s a timeless rallying cry – if you’ve ever felt like an outsider, London Irish Rugby Club is the place for you.

With all this in mind, we elevated the nickname, to create ‘The Exile Nation’. Showing that London Irish stands for more than just being an isolated exile. Instead, we are exiles together, making up one big like-minded nation, that cannot be contained by the location of a stadium. Together we believe in each other, the hard work and the value that diversity, culture and experience bring to the game.

The language of nations is made up of symbols, flags and culture. London Irish already had the symbol – the brand logo. They also had the culture – the exile mix of Irish exuberance, English organisation and global player flare. Now, it was time to bring that language to the fore for their brand and campaigns to come, to change the narrative from The Exiles to The Exile Nation.

Armed with a new brand platform, we developed the story, so it could be leveraged across a messaging framework that spoke to a variety of different target groups, ensuring that we tapped into their collective shared vision, culture and aspirations. Because after all, The Exile Nation is built on togetherness, and the strength of individuals working as one.

One pride

One nation

We wanted this campaign to have real longevity so rather than treating this as individual pieces of collateral, we created an easy to assemble campaign toolkit. To embody the idea of ‘The Exile Nation’ we appropriated the main symbol of national identity, the flag, and turned it into a campaign mark which can sit alongside the London Irish logo to give the campaign it’s own ‘brand’. We further utilised the flag motif by designing an editable flag graphic that can act as a vehicle for the various campaign messages which in turn are created utilising a customised ‘Exile Nation’ typeface. We introduced some custom ‘cuts’ to an existing typeface that suggests both the movement of a flag and the forward motion of the players during a game. This typeface enables London Irish to quickly produce impactful graphics almost on the fly which is especially effective in maintaining the campaign’s integrity across social media.

Luke and the team perfectly interpreted the aim of our project and devised a campaign thatwas not only visually exciting but was built on a strong concept with opportunities to developand become synonymous withour brand.

katy bigos, marketing manager, london irish rugby club

London Irish Exile Nation brand logo design

The campaign launched in line with the Season Ticket sales opening and has been hugely successful, with a mix of collateral across London billboards, tube station barriers, buses and social media banners. Season ticket sales have broken records for London Irish, local uptake has been positive and existing fans and team members have proactively been supporting The Exile Nation by organically promoting the hashtag #ExileNation. With the ultimate aim of welcoming more loyal members to the “Exile Nation”, the long-term partnership will continue to build on the strength of what the campaign has already achieved together.

UnitedUs were a pleasure to work with throughout and went above and beyond in all areas of the campaign from research to delivery, we could not be happier with the result.

Katy Bigos, marketing manager, london irish rugby club

London Irish

Brand identity design for London Irish Exile Nation campaign by UnitedUs Brighton

Deliverables:

  • Brand strategy
  • Print collateral
  • Copywriting
  • Visual identity
  • Digital marketing
  • Tone of voice
  • Marketing

Sectors:

  • Sports

Location:

  • London