Societe Generale, already a partner of a British RWC !
In the Autumn of 1999, Societe Generale was Official Sponsor of the second Rugby World Cup to be held in the UK. Wales was the principal host nation with many matches also being played in England, Scotland and Ireland, as well as in France.
Sunday 31 October, 1999. When the final whistle blew, the French players rejoiced and embarked on a lap of honour to thank their supporters. On the Twickenham pitch, France had just surprised everyone and beaten the All Blacks, thus making it to the final of the Rugby World Cup. Following a high-quality and particularly intense match that swung one way and then the other, Fabien Galthié and his men accomplished an amazing feat by beating Jonah Lomu's All Blacks, the pre-tournament favourites, by 43 points to 31. Far from convincing in their previous games, Les Bleus were able to rise to the occasion to beat the odds and silence their critics. Led by their captain Raphaël Ibanez, they were able to turn things around and play an attack-minded game based on collective commitment, good tactics, speed and anticipation. Although they would lose to the Wallabies in the final a week later in Cardiff, the French players left their mark by making this an unforgettable moment for French rugby fans and a wonderful lesson in never giving up.
Over the tournament's five weeks, Societe Generale was on the front line. Faithful to its in-depth commitment to rugby, the Group was the only French Worldwide Partner of the last major sporting event of the 20th century. Following 1991, this was the second time that the Bank had sponsored the Rugby World Cup. To promote the event, Societe Generale significantly expanded the scope of its sponsorship. The rugby culture that is the hallmark of the company's teams enabled a very diverse programme of events and activities to be organised. Particularly as, whilst Wales were the main hosts of the event, many matches were played elsewhere in the UK, in Scotland and Ireland, as well as in France, where there was substantial media coverage. On television screens, the Bank's presence was ensured through trailers and opening credits, as well as the inclusion of Societe Generale's red and black logo during programmes and not forgetting the advertising hoardings around the rugby pitches. The use of derived products also proved to be a major success, with some 200,000 articles distributed to customers and members of staff, including Dewi – the event's official mascot – cuddly toys. To create ties and strengthen the festive aspect of this major event, the Group also organised competitions to win tickets to World Cup matches and broadcast games in its bank branches. A welcome initiative for the Societe Generale brand image.
The French team's excellent performance also resulted in record numbers of television viewers for rugby. In France and abroad, the general public wanted to watch the exploits of France's golden generation with players such as Pelous, Ntamack, Castaignède, Dominici and Benazzi. Synonymous with substantial individual and collective commitment and a desire to move forward together by doing one's very best, their performance upheld the values that Societe Generale strives to develop.
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