Commercial and Brand Activation, Education and Discovery


Leeds Beckett University and Leeds University Union


Leeds Varsity: Wear Your Colours

Increasing attendance to the biggest student sporting event of the year.

The annual Leeds Universities Varsity sees over 1,400 competitors from Leeds Beckett University and the University of Leeds compete against each other in over 50 fixtures across 25 sports. The event culminates in the Rugby Union finale match, which in 2015, was played in front of over 14,000 people at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, the home of Leeds rugby. This attendance was larger than the attendance at a Rugby World Cup match taking place on the same day! In terms of number of fixtures in one day this is the UK’s biggest University Varsity Event.

We were commissioned to ensure the event’s audiences would see Leeds Varsity as a ‘must-attend’ event and an essential part of the student calendar. In turn this would increase attendance, engagement and ticket sales.



Our brief was to develop a brand identity and a fully integrated marketing strategy that would allow the campaign to effectively reach as many students and recent graduates within the Leeds area as possible, encouraging them to get involved in Leeds Varsity.

The main objectives were:

To increase participation (spectator, athlete, PR and sponsorship) at all Varsity events.

Raise interest in the Varsity, prompt conversation & drive action (view the website, purchase a ticket, become a sponsor, tweet/write about the event).

Convert interested parties into active participants, sponsors or spectators.

To create a unified and easily identifiable Varsity message across all mediums including online, print and merchandise.

Leeds Varsity has become an ever growing success, celebrating its 10th year in 2014; Varsity events generate high levels of interest with a potential audience of over 60,000 students, staff and community within Leeds.

As Leeds Varsity has grown so have the marketing and communications requirements and they have now exceeded the capacity of the staff responsible for them. Therefore the two Universities sought support of an external full-service agency to create and manage a campaign which will create even more success for the event and meet the project team’s objectives.


We developed a range of straplines that would help promote the friendly rivalry between two Universities – this was a key driver for attending varsity and showing support to student peers. Our ‘Wear Your Colours’ strapline tested really well and was all about students backing their university and doing things the ‘Leeds Beckett way’ or the ‘Leeds Uni way’.

Our ambition for the project’s creative was to develop a look, feel and approach that could be owned by students. We founded the ‘wear your colours’ brand identity based on routines of different student tribes preparing for Varsity, but handed it over to students themselves to add their own images, chants, memories and create their own Varsity story.

Our media use included:

  • Advertising and promotional
  • Social media
  • Website
  • Match-day material: TV screens, programme, lanyard


  • The highest attendance to Leeds Varsity in the history of the event.
  • 15,345 attendees to the Rugby match alone.
  • Approx. 300 attendees to the Netball match.
  • Increased attendance from Leeds Beckett University students, resulting in an equal split of ticket sales from each University.