Mastercard was the primary sponsor of the Rugby World Cup 2023 in France, and had exclusive naming rights to the Player of the Match (POTM) Trophy as part of this deal. Wishing to create something unforgettable and priceless with these prized awards handed out to some of the biggest players in the world, the company turned to sister agencies Octagon and FRUKT to conceptualise, design and build an iconic prize that would champion the next generation of talent, both in rugby and another of its key passion points - music.
When creating 2023’s Player of the Match Trophy, it was vital to understand and respect rugby’s existing dedicated and loyal fanbase as well as engaging a younger audience that the sport is keen to reach and grow. The traditional fanbase has been mainly over 36 year old, white, well-established men, and Mastercard wanted to look ahead by inviting a new generation of fans to be part of the sport’s future as it reached its 200 year milestone. Going forward, attracting a next-gen audience when bringing nations together on the global stage means representing them and allowing them to engage with sport their way, through short-form content and technology-inspired entertainment.
Octagon has previously worked on the Player of the March Trophy for Mastercard, creating The Live Trophy in Japan for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and The Sonic Trophy for the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup. In order to reach the sport’s next generation of fans, as well as respecting the traditions of the sport, Octagon created the spectacular Mastercard Player of the Match Soundtrack Trophy, which not only looked beautiful and iconic but also utilised technology to feature a bespoke Mastercard Rugby World Cup anthem built into it, which could be played through a powerful speaker inside the trophy. Each anthem, customised to that particular Player of the Match, connected the Trophy to these superstar players like never before, as well as engaging traditional rugby fans and the next generation.
FRUKT was commissioned to collaborate with a renowned French producer to create two unforgettable rugby anthems which would feature in each POTM Soundtrack Trophy, covering the whole tournament. FRUKT was proud to engage Surkin (photo - bottom right) for the project, a hugely talented producer and arranger who’s released music on numerous international dance music labels and is now a globally respected film soundtrack composer. FRUKT also engaged two hugely talented emerging talents from very different French music scenes - afropop/funk act SONGØ (main picture), and rising pop star Philippine (photo - bottom left) - who took an anthem each and recorded spectacular vocals for it.
For the first 44 games of the tournament, during the 80 minutes of play these Mastercard Rugby World Cup soundtracks were woven together with broadcast highlights, fan cheers, and Mastercard's unique sonic sound, and uploaded instantly to the trophy. Each Player of the Match was handed a prize right after the final whistle that was much more than a trophy; it's a multi-sensory time capsule of their award-winning match told through high-end speaker technology built into the design.
For the final four games (two semi finals, bronze match, and final) our team and the artists moved into residency in the Mastercard Sonic Studio in Paris, rewriting the soundtracks in real-time to feature personalised lyrics celebrating the Player of the Match’s achievement and other key moments - reworking the soundtrack live during the 80 minutes of each match. That’s 80 minutes to re-write, rework and remix a whole song… which, if you know about writing and recording music, you’ll understand is verging on madness! These new versions were also mixed with pivotal broadcast commentary, fan shout-outs, and the Mastercard brand sonic to create new versions, before being uploaded instantly to the trophy.
Octagon collaborated with acclaimed upcoming French designers natacha. sacha. to create the acclaimed trophy, with designer Natacha Poutoux stating, “We chose materials highlighting local materials and traditional French craftsmanship. A raw porcelain column with 15 twisted lines represents the players on the pitch and symbolises the idea of team cohesion. Suspended from the cup, a leather strap allows the name of the player of the match to be inscribed in real time.”
The campaign led to Mastercard having the highest share-of-voice across social media among of all of the Rugby World Cup 23 sponsors.