It was an unforgettable moment of pride for all. That night of April 2, 2011 every Indian forgot his caste, creed, worries, tensions, apprehensions and rejoiced with his fellow countrymen as India won the ICC Cricket World Cup. It was a long wait of 28 years and victory never earlier had tasted so sweet. A big achievement for India and most importantly for its most amazing captain M. S. Dhoni. Fearless, confident, cool and unflappable. He drove in unlimited self-confidence into each player, and together the team conquered the world.

The man showed the world he doesn’t play by the rules – and India loved him for that. A captain like Dhoni and a tournament like the World Cup is a combination that doesn’t come too often and it made every marketer sit up and take action. With the whole nation glued to their TV sets, there was nothing more exciting an advertiser could have asked for. Along with the nation, every brand too was eating, sleeping, breathing and singing cricket. Every brand had jumped on to the cricket bandwagon.

With cricket and only cricket on everybody’s mind, most brands changed their advertising strategy to match the mood of the audience. Those who could afford to, roped in the cricketers to endorse their brands, while the numerous others changed their advertising themes, punchlines, promotional offers to match the cricket euphoria. As this was the best way to engage with the audience, Krishidhan, India’s 5th largest seeds company changed its tagline to “Beejon Ka Tendulkar”. DSP BlackRock Mutual Fund asked people to “Prepare your investment kit”. Style Spa introduced its “Hattrick offer”. Dr. Batra’s introduced its “Super Six Offer”. LIC doled out a slew of catchy slogans, each one reflecting the spirit of the game. From “Live life on the front foot” to “Great partnerships are built on trust”, each one showed how life & cricket were not very different from each other. Relating your brand to cricket was the best way to get noticed this time. Those who did have the means – like Revital, Oakley, etc – got a cricketer to endorse their brands. However, for some, in spite of spending so much and changing their advertising themes to cricket, the magic eluded them. Very few could reflect the passion for the game in a way that would get the viewers excited and involved. Research has shown that out of the hundreds who infused “cricket” into their marketing plans, only two brands stood out head over heels above others – Nike and Pepsi.

Much like its “Just do it” slogan, which caught the imagination of youngsters across the world, Nike’s “Bleed Blue” was on the lips of every Indian as he confessed his love for the game. Nike put into words what every Indian felt when its cricket team went to play against the world. Winning the cup and defeating the world made every one weep and bleed for the men in blue.

Pepsi and its campaigns have always been young and appealed to the youth. However, its campaign around the World Cup created by the agency Taproot India, brought a smile to everyone’s lips. Humorous, irreverent, and interesting, the campaign brought out the spirit of the viewers. When it comes to cricket, every Indian thinks he’s the expert and that one could easily teach the cricketers a thing or two to improve their game. For every lost match, we have an explanation & a solution, which, if the team had followed, would have ensured they won the match. The Pepsi ad portrayed this so beautifully with everybody teaching the cricketers how to master unique batting and bowling tricks. It brought a fresh twist to the game and soon the “helicopter shot”, “the doosra”, and the “upar cut” become the new cricket lingo. They were funny and totally different from the cricket rule book. Pepsi did change the game.     Read More....

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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