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The Best Campaigns Of The Cricket World Cup, And Their Lessons
The Best Campaigns Of The Cricket World Cup, And Their Lessons
By: iMedia News Bureau

No marketing and advertising professional would hesitate in stating that advertising isn’t what it used to be. With the proliferation of media vehicles, excessive clutter in the media space and increasing competition for eyeballs, getting the attention of an audience is no longer a task, it’s a fine art. Thankfully where the average professional will see a problem in these stated issues, the creative one will see opportunity where none existed. This was in ample display during the recently concluded Cricket World Cup.

While 14 teams battled on the field for cricketing glory, there were literally hundreds of brands that fought off the field to grab audience attention. Everyone wanted their share of the world cup air space with the result that schemes and offers connected to cricket  were plenty, and so were the ads connected to it. Not just the TV screen, almost every media space - be it on TV, print or radio, was filled with cricketing ads screaming for attention. Amidst such clutter, and similarity of advertising and offers, it was near impossible to differentiate. Yet, there were those that did differentiate in ways so creative that a study of the same would help advertisers plan campaigns in the future.

Unlike other brands, Nike is a sports brand that has always stood for passion for sports and life. Nike began its Bleed Blue campaign six months before the cup to leverage upon the idea of cricket as religion in India. Nike went all guns blazing with the ad, hitting every conceivable media: billboards, TV spots, newspapers and magazines, social networking and even sms. They did many unique things like with the world cup reaching the final stages, on the 24th March, they launched the Bleed Blue Pledge commercial featuring popular Indian cricketers. Then there was the ‘Yards’ campaign which was an amalgamation of their 6 months campaign and talked about the passion of the game in the country. A major learning from the Bleed Blue campaign is the leveraging of every possible outlet with the brand also going in for heavy on ground initiatives like the ‘handprint’ activity that was also extended online.

Unlike Nike, Vodafone is a mobile company and has nothing to do with cricket. Yet, it came out with a character the ‘Super Zoozoo’ whose crazy antics were so different from the other advertising on TV, that it instantly caught the attention of audiences. And to be able to do that while saving millions that would otherwise have been spent on a brand ambassador, is indeed an advertising scoop. Thus while competitors like Tata, Airtel and Reliance ran their clichéd ads, the one that won the cup amidst the mobile service advertisers, was Vodafone.

Pepsi, never a brand to back out of an opportunity, not only invested heavily in the world cup, but also put in a lot of brains behind their campaign. The result was the extensive ‘Change The Game’ campaign. The game of cricket has undergone drastic changes over the last few years. The Pepsi campaign asked for it to be changed further and with its helicopter shot ad with M S Dhoni and Harbhajan’s ‘Doosra’, the campaign became the official sponsor of everything unorthodox in the world cup. And everyone knows that the cup had quite its share of these unorthodox moments, both on and off the field, with the result that audiences recalled Pepsi every time anything different happened. The campaign was not only different, but out of the box and to top it all was funny and used actual visuals from match to build the ad than the other way around.

Adidas entered the cup with their ‘Bring It On’ campaign. Unlike many others, Adidas, like Nike, had the advantage of being a sports brand and it leveraged upon it extensively with a campaign which aimed to inspire sportspersons to work hard, focus and believe in themselves. The ads starred some giants of the cricketing world including Sachin Tendulkar, Virendra Sehwag, Lasith Mallinga and Kieron Pollard. The best thing about the campaign was that almost everyone could relate to it. Though only a few can play on a cricketing filed, but in life everyone is full of doubt and struggles. Thus, audiences found real inspiration vicariously from these ads starring their favourite cricketers.

An important trend that emerged during the world cup was the use of the non-traditional media. All of these brands not only made their presence felt in BTL, on ground activities and social media activities, but actually actively ventured into it to reap rich dividends from their activities. E.g. three from the four campaigns mentioned above and excluding Vodafone, were first launched on social web, especially Facebook and Twitter, thus hitting a direct hotline with their young, tech-savvy advertising audience.

For every one of these spectacular branding campaigns there were a host of ‘also-ran’ campaigns from most other brands which were so clichéd that it would have been better if they had indeed not run the race and saved themselves some money. However, as these four brands and their campaigns show, there’s enough scope to do more. The only trick is to feel, think and implement out of the box if a brand wants to win the advertising cup.  

Tags: Nike, Bleed Blue, Vodafone, Super Zoozoo, Adidas, Bring It On, Pepsi, Change The Game