On November 18th, 2015 the untimely and tragic death of Jonah Lomu, the New Zealand and All Black rugby legend was becoming breaking news around the world.
When the news reached Ireland, The Irish Examiner, a paper with a noted sporting heritage – and in particular for rugby, being based in Cork, a stronghold of Munster Rugby – wanted to create a special tribute piece for this beloved global sporting icon, and briefed their advertising agency Chemistry to develop an appropriate piece.
Chemistry then developed a tribute ad that could be run in the Irish Examiner the next day, in tandem with pieces from the Examiner’s Sports writers’ reporting on the momentous impact Lomu had made on the sporting world.
Within hours of the paper going to print the world began embracing an image that quickly became a global phenomenal as it was adopted by rugby fans all around the world, from New Zealand to South Africa – and ultimately Jonah Lomu’s own family – as an iconic symbol of grief to mark the sad passing of a true legend.
The Prime Minster of New Zeland, John Key, even referenced and praised the Irish Examiner and the tribute piece when speaking on a New Zealand TV chat show (In the context of the referendum currently taking place where New Zealanders are voting on a new design for their national flag).
• Campaign content received over 400K social media engagements (likes, shares, comments, RT’s etc.)
• Campaign content was shared to a social audience of over 6 million
• The #IrishExaminer trended on Twitter internationally multiple times throughout the campaign – across at least 7 regions including New Zealand, France, 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, Munster Rugby and The All Blacks social media accounts. Early estimates of the PR this campaign created are conservatively estimated at 750,000
• The content received coverage in over 50+ articles across international news websites in France, Italy, South Africa, UK and New Zealand.