2016 brought Maharashtra one of its worst drought seasons, harming the livelihoods of millions while contributing to a major rise farmer suicides.
With water supply scarcer than ever, and acknowledging the huge water requirement for organizing a cricket match, pleas were made to shift the IPL matches out of the state of Maharashtra. As the pleas gathered momentum, the issue began to be portrayed as a choice between cricket and social welfare – pursuing one at the detriment of the other.
CricHQ, stepped in to diffuse the growing ill-will against the game of cricket. The company conceptualized a Twitter fundraising campaign to harness people’s love and passion for Cricket into raising money for the drought victims.
Aroon Kumar, General Manager, Global Marketing, CricHQ said, “The #ICareISupport campaign demonstrated that the Cricket lovers have a large heart and when given the right opportunity, they will step forward to use their social networks and contribute to a worthy social cause. The people of Maharashtra suffered a lot due to water scarcity this year, and CricHQ along with the Naam foundation is happy to have contributed in a small and yet meaningful manner to help the drought victims in the state.”
The campaign was christened #ICareISupport, and CricHQ would donate the money raised through this campaign to The Naam foundation, an NGO engaged in drought relief work.
Cricket is a religion in India and fans habitually connect with each other on social media to discuss the game. CricHQ sought to channel this love for cricket into monetary help for the drought hit families.
The idea behind #ICareISupport was to make the support for Maharashtra drought victims a by-product of people’s passion for Cricket, instead of asking people to directly donate from their pockets to help a cause. For every tweet carrying the campaign hashtag, CricHQ would donate money to The Naam Foundation.
The idea was to make contribution to a social cause through a natural outcome of people’s everyday use of social media, rather than a forced activity.
— Aarti Hariramani (@AartiHariramani) May 29, 2016
— Sukhvir Singh (@iSukhvirSingh) May 29, 2016
— Ashu Goyal (@Ashulibyan) May 28, 2016
CricHQ conceptualized #ICareISupport as a 24-hour Twitter campaign to run at a predetermined date and time. The company developed the idea of a “Digital Donation Box”, where it would accept 140-characters of a tweet as donation. For every tweet, CricHQ would donate money for drought relief work.
To build the momentum at the start of the campaign, CricHQ created some stories which emulated the “Spirit of Cricket.” Two kinds of Initial conversation build up posts were created where #ISupport – CricHQ shared posts that represented the true “Spirit of Cricket.” #ICare – CricHQ shared stories and work of Cricketers who are working for the greater good for society.
— Ashwini (@ClickLOA) May 28, 2016
In the next phase, various teaser posts and a teaser video were created to promote the campaign as a build-up to the campaign. The animated teaser video was developed on the popular parable of ‘thirsty crow’. The video was an appeal to the people that all this campaign wanted from them is to tweet their love for cricket and their support for the cause.
Support from leading influencers was sought for promoting the campaign on a pro bono basis. Former New Zealand cricketer and current commentator, Scott Styris, came forward to help; he visited CricHQ’s Delhi office and recorded a live video, where he appealed to his fans for their participation in the campaign; and to contribute to this good cause.
Scott actively endorsed the campaign by not only tweeting and retweeting the campaign posts, but also, by going the extra mile and appealing to cricket fraternity to support the campaign.
Other champion cricketers, including former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming and Indian cricketer, Ravichandran Ashwin, heeded Scott’s call and tweeted and retweeted the campaign posts.
McGrath Foundation, IPL team Chennai Super Kings and Suresh Raina’s fan club also tweeted their support for the campaign. International cricketers like Stephen Fleming, Ravichandran Ashwin and the Chennai Super Kings team came forward to help spread the message across geographies.
The campaign was highly successful and set new benchmarks in Twitter fundraising in India. It succeeded in raising several lakhs of rupees for drought victims and saw widespread Twitter participation, with over 2,670 Twitter users sending out tweets or retweets with the hashtag.
The campaign reached over 134 million people and created over 153 million impressions. The hashtag trended on Twitter for more than 16 hours across India; and for more than 24 hours in Western India.
The #ICareISupport won the “Social Media Campaign of the Year” and “Best use of Social Media in Cause Marketing” at the National Awards for Excellence in Digital Marketing, organized by CMO Asia Conclave.
The campaign set an example for cause driven social media activities by collating a large sum for this cause.