Jitender Dabas, Chief Strategy Officer, McCann Worldgroup India
While this world cup has proved that nothing has changed as far Indians’ passion for the game of cricket, a lot has changed around how we consumed the game. We multi-screened and meshed (engaging through social media while watching the matches) throughout the 2019 World Cup.
As a result, the conversations were as much about things outside the ground as much as they were about what was happening on the pitch. The Pakistani fan’s rant after India’s loss travelled more than anything else on social media and Rohit Sharma’s century were competing with people’s angst about Sanjay Manjrekar’s commentary on Twitter. TikTok videos and WhatsApp memes were being generated before brands could blink. All this added to the way fans enjoyed the World Cup. But I don’t think any of the brands were ready for all that. Here are some learnings.
#1. No 4-year cycle here. World Cup comes every four years and a lot changes as far the media landscape and resultant consumer behaviour. A four-year-old template of brand engagement won’t work.
#2. Be nimble. The tournament will throw up a lot of opportunities for brands to engage. Have capabilities to grab them. Coca-Cola used the call-up for Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja nicely to draw conversations for their 12th man campaign.
#3. Think beyond World Cup anthems and sending fans to see the World Cup. Even a pan masala brand can present an anthem. Find more evocative axes to connect with cricket.
#4. Entertain first and foremost. It’s a long tournament. If not entertaining, ads can get irritating. And that’s when they get trolled.
#5. Keep the Losing strategy ready. While winning is the biggest joy, a loss can sometimes evoke even stronger emotions among fans. Brands miss an opportunity in not connecting with their fans once the teams exit.
Lloyd Mathias, Business & Marketing Strategist and former APAC marketing head of HP
Direct Connect? Not necessary – Using a large platform like the Cricket World Cup, doesn’t necessarily imply that your advertising must have a direct connect with the sport. Properties like the World Cup deliver high recall and conversion in a very short time so sometimes brands just need a large platform to showcase memorable communication to audiences.
Let cricket be the hero – Some of the most memorable campaigns of this World Cup didn’t use cricket stars, or team India jerseys bleeding blue, but subtly used cricket as a metaphor to drive home their product attributes. Swiggy is a great example.
Keep the Plan-B ready – Don’t base your advertising on a specific outcome – like an India win. An unexpected event, like India’s loss to New Zealand in the semi-final can take the sting out of your campaign.
Jaibeer Ahmad, Senior Vice President, Cheil Worldwide
No run of the mill – The biggest challenge and the lesson for the brands is how to stay away from the run of the mill ‘cheering the team’ kind of advertising. A sharp differentiated POV is a must.
Go for the moment – How brands can maximise ‘moment marketing’ to their advantage. Pepsi did a great job by signing up Charulata Patel leveraging her instant social media celebrityhood. The more contextual you are, the more relevant you become to this audience.
Don’t over-index – Brands should learn from the unexpected loss of the team in the semi-finals. Never link your fortunes with that of the team. Kamala Pasand’s ‘ek aur baar’ became irrelevant with the loss. Imagine if the exit had happened earlier.
Shekhar Banerjee, Managing Partner, Wavemaker India
Treat it like the Super Bowl – For the money you are investing, in terms of prep start treating the Cup like a Super Bowl game. World Cup dates are announced half a decade early, so for the best outcome start planning early. Last minute, neither the inventory rates will come down nor will you get the best creative output for the platform.
Avoid overexposure – Given the platform reach and the deep viewer engagement, always remember that creative fatigue is high.
Be ready – Don’t forget the above learnings because the T20 World Cup is just a year away.