In 2004, Brains became the first Welsh brand to sponsor the Welsh Rugby Union. To celebrate the signing of the sponsorship giant posters and building wraps were put up across Wales proclaiming Brains as ‘official sponsor of the 2007 world champions’, linking in the sponsorship to Brains well-known ‘positive thinking’ advertising campaign.
And the power of positive thinking seemed to work instantly when Wales famously won the Grand Slam in 2005 with Brains emblazoned across their famous red jerseys - except for the match in France that is, when Brains was replaced with ‘Brawn’ to ensure compliance with France’s ban on alcohol advertising, proving once and for all that Brains and Brawn is a winning combination!
With four wins out of five over England since Brains became sponsor, there have also been a few opportunities to poke fun at our friends from the other side of Offa’s Dyke, most famously with the wooden spoon image, which hit the front page of the Western Mail and the national press sports pages, following a run of England defeats in 2005.
Further success for the Welsh team followed with a second Grand Slam win in Brains branded shirts in 2008, this time including an historic win at Twickenham - Wales’ first in 20 years.
There has always been a natural fit between Brains and Welsh Rugby with a trip to Cardiff to watch an international match always accompanied by a few pints of Wales’ most famous beer. The sponsorship has received great external acclaim, winning Hollis Sponsorship Awards for best sponsorship in 2005 and 2009.
The sponsorship tie-up between the WRU and Brains is now agreed to continue to 2012. Let’s hope for a couple more Grand Slams for Wales between now and then!