#CWC19: Are brands reluctant to experiment with their ICC World Cup marketing strategy?

Paawan Sunam
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World Cup marketing strategy

While brands attempted to shape winning World Cup marketing strategy this cricket season, most seem to be using tried & tested tactics to win over consumers. Social Samosa along with a few marketing mavens untangle the loop of repetition.

'World Cup Anthem' is the one majorly-used theme observed this #CWC19. " target="_blank">Uber, " target="_blank">Puma, " target="_blank">American Tourister, MTV Beats, and " target="_blank">Syska, to name a few, are all aboard the 'Anthem Train'. 'Win a trip to World Cup' is another trend seen among others that brands followed as a part of their World Cup marketing strategy.

Similarly, Britannia Khao World Cup Jao first actuated in 1999 was a sensation. Further, HSBC, BPL, Asian Paints, Krack-Jack, Foster's and more had offered to win a trip to World Cup the same year.

Britannia has even revived the campaign this year. Coca Cola & Uber are some of the other brands that revolve around similar lines.

The curiosity that arises to delve into this apprehension lead us to a consultation with experts which resulted in the conjecture that the following may be the rationale behind brands not experimenting with new ideas.

ICC Guidelines

Cricket World Cup campaigns

Naresh Gupta, CSO, Managing Partner, Bang in the Middle

Naresh Gupta, CSO, Managing Partner, Bang in the Middle thinks that there is very little flexibility that brands have when it comes to ICC World Cup as it is tightly controlled by ICC and approvals are needed.

He adds, "So if you are an official partner to ICC, then sending people to watch a match is a big gratification, even if it has been done before. When a brand is not an official partner of ICC and still wants to ride the Cricket wave, then the easiest way to do it is create an anthem."

He thinks maybe this is why brands haven't experimented more.

Any brand to fetch a partnership with ICC has to request a proposal for opportunities related to broadcast, sponsorship & brand management, marketing, signage production, event management or digital.

The proposal itself has to be in compliance with general and special conditions along with a few parameters that define the proposer's competence.

The crucial guidelines may be in motion to preserve ICC's brand image formed in accordance with this event's marketability.

Also Read: ICC Cricket World Cup campaigns that are still scoring!

Opportunity To Attend the World Cup

Cricket World Cup campaigns

Chetan Asher, Founder & CEO, Tonic Worldwide

Chetan Asher, Founder & CEO, Tonic Worldwide reckons that for a cricket loving country like India, World Cup is a major event and offering an opportunity to consumers to see it live is a big deal.


He appends, "The consumer might not see this as yet another contest too. This makes it very tempting for brands to revisit incentive-driven campaigns."

Australian Bureau of Statistic (ABS) revealed a 46% spike in visitor arrivals from India during the month of March, coinciding with their team’s appearance in the semi‐final of Cricket World Cup, according to a media release by Tourism Australia. Going to watch the World Cup in the stadium is the dream, and many do it, there are many more out there for whom this is a distant dream.

On the other hand, Priti Nair, Director, Curry Nation opines that contests also makes a consumer move faster as compared to any other thematic. Consumer promos ran on this theme also makes the retailers push your product and stock more, everything works that way.

Cricket World Cup campaigns

Priti Nair, Director, Curry Nation

Although she adds, "The consumers are becoming smarter. They've got such an array of products to choose from and now they're quite aware that if it's a lucky draw, they might not get it."

"At the same time, brand loyalty is almost close to zero today. So, a consumer doesn't mind if something is free or they are getting something extra, they will shift."

Return On Investment

The brands are under tremendous pressure as a World Cup Campaign represents a significant amount of advertising funds and other resources. Moreover, buying a slot during the telecast is a lavish business. As, a slot that lasts for tens of seconds may require tens of lakhs.

Priti Nair says that brands can conventionally gauge a return on the sheer amount of money that they spend by running a contest.

She adds, "So, I guess it's not so much of lack of ideas but the thing that how do you encash on a big ticket item and the bigger brands can afford it so they go ahead and do this."

"I think everybody is getting a little scared and not taking any risks in advertising per se because of the money that they spend. Compared to, 10 or 6 years ago, the creative quotient of the ad is becoming more and more logical now overall."

Bygones or Current?

Cricket World Cup has been an avenue that has given us some of the most iconic campaigns. For instance, Pepsi's Nothing official about it and Change The Game, Nike's Bleed Blue, the Apple Singh Commercial, Adidas' Bring it On and Star Sports' Mauka Mauka.

In comparison, the campaigns we've seen this #CWC19 don't hold up to the bar. Priti Nair thinks the Cricket World Cup campaigns have changed quite a bit and now they're quite boring.

She further says, "We used to look forward to seeing the World Cup ads but now nothing has really stuck out. Like Super Bowl ads, the collection that advertising people see. Unfortunately today we don't have that, at all."

While Priti profounds the quality aspects, Chetan Asher thinks that , "There is a lot happening around world cup and it will pay off to be brave and take a radically different approach."

It's true that ICC Guidelines, pressure from competition and the stress to cerate ROI may be some of the obstacles brands face while experimenting, which may lead them to opt for the tried and tested strategies but these hurdles have always existed.

Moreover, every 'trend' was once an idea that has 'never been done before'.

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