1991: Societe Generale takes on its first Rugby World Cup!

Autumn 1991. Faithful to its aspirations, Societe Generale steps up its commitment to the world of rugby as a first-time sponsor for the Rugby World Cup. A major first move to reflect the Group's dedication to a sport that shares the same values.

Friday 4 October 1991. At the Stade de la Méditerranée stadium in Béziers, the French Tricolore XV team set a daunting lead in the second-ever Rugby World Cup, as Philippe Saint-André's team scores four tries to beat Romania by 30 to 3. An excellent start to proceedings that delights first-time sponsor Societe Generale. And what better commitment to achieve the Group's ambitions in terms of its corporate image and brand recognition? Working to renew its communications policy following its privatisation, the growing popularity of the sport in France could not be clearer for the Bank. In 1987, it went on to sign a partnership with the French Rugby Federation and, with a certain interest, follow the travels of Serge Blanco and his team across Australia and New Zealand. Although the "Bleus" were beaten in the final, the high TV ratings for the event pointed to a promising outlet for the Group's commercial and marketing strategy.

Come Autumn 1991, Societe Generale's sponsorship of the second tournament, held in Great Britain and France, delivers all of its promises. Despite the French team being eliminated by the English as early as the quarter finals, the public's passion barely falters and benefits the sport's sponsors. During the eight matches held in France, Societe Generale is quick to ensure that its newly-established logo in red and black is given maximum visibility (on advertising panels, post protector pads and tickets), and a number of public relations events are also organised, particularly during the two quarter finals in Paris and Lille. An agreement is signed with th TV station Canal+ to sponsor thirteen live matches (prominently featuring logos during live coverage, in adverts and on generic advertising materials). Finally, a visual on the theme of "le talent sort de la mêlée" ("the talent leaves the scrum") is designed for display in the local bank branches and in press adverts. The proof, if ever there was any need, that by broadening its sponsorship to good use, Societe Generale also incarnates the values that make rugby the sport it is. Team spirit heads for the pitch.


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