WESTPAC, CORE TO THE MAGIC IN BRISBANE

BECCY DODUNSKI

Event and Experiential Manager

ROSS GONSALVES

Account Director

in Sport

May 20, 2024

Exactly a year ago, at the 2023 NRL Magic Round, Westpac officially launched Catch&Keep, an exciting fan engagement activation that allows NRL fans a chance to take home a match ball if caught in the stands. The fan reception was so positive that Westpac and the NRL decided to continue activating Catch&Keep at all tentpole rounds for the remainder of the 2023 season, including State of Origin and the NRL & NRLW Grand Finals.

Fast forward twelve months, with the NRL announcing record ticket sales (140k+) for Magic Round and the first Women’s State of Origin match taking place the night before, Westpac doubled down on their fan engagement activity to enhance the fan experience and build on the equity gained last season.

The fan engagement strategy was segmented into five distinct activity streams: Catch&Keep In-stadia Activation, Catch&Keep Precinct Activation, Wesley the Mascot, Giant Inflatable Ball Activation, and Corporate Suite Hospitality. Each stream was meticulously designed to enhance the fan experience and deepen the bank’s connection with the NRL community.

The Catch&Keep In-stadia Activation continued to be the flagship component of Westpac’s activity, where 60+ lucky fans were able to take home a match footy after catching it in the stands. Fans were well informed of this opportunity using big screen assets, LED signage, and MC scripting. By maintaining a strong presence during matches, Westpac ensured its brand remained at the forefront of fans’ minds, reinforcing its association with excitement and entertainment.

Westpac’s biggest addition to the fan experience in 2024 was extending Catch&Keep beyond the stadium, giving all fans an opportunity to take home a replica match footy through an interactive and immersive physical activation in the precinct. The activation drew massive crowds and was by far the most engaged brand activity on the precinct, with thousands of fans participating and walking away with their very own replica match footy or footy keychain.

The event also saw the launch of Wesley the Mascot, Westpac’s very own mascot that heroes the brand’s key asset – the match ball. By integrating Wesley into the broader fan engagement strategy, Westpac managed to humanize its brand and foster a deeper emotional connection with the NRL audience, particularly the younger demographic. Wesley was a huge hit amongst fans and even earned himself third place in the official mascot race.

Westpac rounded out their activity with a continuation of the Giant Inflatable Ball Activation, which provided fun and entertainment for fans in the stands during pre-match and half-time intervals. Additionally, Westpac ensured their corporate suite guests and partners were treated to high-end hospitality through upgraded amenities, meet-and-greets with talent, and gift packs.

The NRL promised to offer a festival-like experience for fans this year, and with the support of partners like Westpac, they delivered beyond expectations. Through innovation and strategic enhancements, Westpac successfully deepened its brand equity and solidified its reputation as a leader in sports sponsorship and a supporter of the NRL community.