The biggest sporting saga of the Indian subcontinent is here. If Cricket is a religion in this country, the CWC ’11 is the ultimate addiction in its purest form. It may be no SuperBowl or FIFA World Cup in terms of revenues or scale, but it sure matches and beats them in frenzy when it comes to the subcontinent.
Obviously, every marketer worth his salt is trying to somehow jump onto the bandwagon and cash in on the frenzy. From innovative to conventional, localized to globalized, TV to Internet, ATL to BTL and advertisement to promotion, all the tricks of the trade are being launched, everyone entering with nothing short of ‘all guns blazing’.
Pepsi, being the official partner of the ICC CWC 2011 is no exception. In fact, with better and more extensive licensing rights available, it has more ‘creative content’ available for use – ranging from the endorsing cricketers to the various world cup-related paraphernalia as well as the symbolic representations like logos.
So, it comes out with a pretty extensive campaign called ‘Change the Game’, with a lot of different avenues of promotions:
1. TVCs: An innovative set of TVCs, showing that the youth in India can coach the cricketers on tricks and nuances to use on international platforms. Two such examples, Dhoni’s acclaimed Helicopter shot and Bhajji’s Doosra are showcased:
The ads serve the purpose well. How many times have we cursed our players on their skills in a match – Remember the expletive adorning your advice to Suresh Raina about facing the short ball? Or the colourful retort on Munaf Patel being called a ‘pace bowler’? The ad acknowledges that feeling amongst Indians, and shows respect to it – with a minor reference to the Youngistaan concept.
Another purpose served by the ad is that it explains succintly what is expected of contestants in the CTG 11 game launched by Pepsi (explained later)
2. Campaign matching Cricketers with qualities, by body-painting them:
Showcasing cricketers’ identifiable qualities, like Bhajji’s aggression and Sehwag’s star power, cricketers are shown bare-chested with body-paintings done on them. Take a look:
Now, this one, I am not so sure about. Cricketers are not exactly icons of looks or sexuality, which comes up as the dominant theme of this ad, compared to the cricket aspect. That it takes away a lot of attention from the brand itself is not helping either
3. On-Ground Activities
Armed with a tie-up with MTV, Pepsi has launched a contest on a large scale – Change The Game (CTG) 11. In the on-ground auditions run across a few metro cities, participants are asked to showcase innovative ways of playing cricket, cheering or commentating. Based on these, a total of 11 participants will be selected to win free tickets to all matches of India in the WC.
I refrain comment on this for the moment. Although it is a novel approach, I am slightly doubtful of the level of involvement it would inspire. For any such campaign to succeed, two things are required: ease of participation and level of incentive. While Pepsi handles the incentive well, being innovative in cricket is not so easy. But then, being the craze that cricket is, wonders can happen. Hence, we have to wait and watch.
There might also be additional activities planned with these 11 players on the grounds – remember, as official partner, they have a lot of leeway to run any such stuff.
4. Online Activities: The CTG 11 game is also taken online, to spread to other cities apart from the ones being auditioned, with users being allowed to submit their videos for the contest.
The website: http://www.pepsichangethegame.com/ also has other ways of engaging visitors, including connect with social networking websites like FB, Twitter etc, some downloadable wallpapers and screensavers, as well as some other contests, which have not been launched yet and are expected soon.
5. Packaging changes: Some packaging change, new bottles for the CTG campaign, with codes to use to participate in events. But it is not a major part of the campaign (and is even slightly contradictory given that it is not that long back when Pepsi changed its PET bottle shapes across brands)
So, the campaign, as can be seen, is pretty extensive, is sure to leave a buzz around. It remains to be seen how Coca Cola strikes back, with a treasured weapon in their arsenal, Sachin Tendulkar, in addition to the already visible Imran Khan. A gut instinct tells me that they might be readying themselves for another K’Naan style scoop (the browbeating effort on Waka Waka was amazingly successful)
P.S.: ICC, at least, is doing a lousy job of promoting the world cup. The world cup promotional video as well as the theme song are amongst the worst I have ever seen.