Experts Speak: ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup campaigns that hit a sixer this season

During ICC Men’s World Cup 2023, the Indian advertising and marketing saw many creative campaigns. Some campaigns fueled cricket superstitions to relate with consumers, while some told cricket fans to root for team India’s victory and a few brought empathy in cricket viewing habits. This carnival, however, ended on a sad note with opponent Australia winning the golden cup. Experts speak about campaigns that were and could have been this World Cup season, appreciating optimism in their approach and calling innovation a miss.

Pranali Tawte
New Update
World Cup campaigns

Back in 2011, when India won the ICC Men’s World Cup in a nail-biting match, it wasn’t just the match that left an imprint on fans’ minds. What played during breaks, as the audience stayed at the edge of their seats to find out if the team blue would grab the shiny trophy, is also talked about to date. The year saw iconic campaigns such as Pepsi’s Change the Game, Vodafone’s (now Vi) ZooZoo, and Nike’s Bleed Blue. When we look back at the 2011 match, these ads also come to mind, bringing a smile to our faces. 

While the advertising landscape has changed since then, these iconic campaigns have inspired many other ideas in years to come. This year, too, a few campaigns did leave a mark. New-age brands Swiggy, Zomato, and Myntra captured the roller-coaster of emotions that the audience went through with their topical creatives on social media. 

During the ICC Men’s World Cup 2023, the blue team has had a winning streak. It won 10 games back-to-back, leading to high hopes and excitement among fans. The enthusiasm was infectious as the brandverse also put its best foot forward with zestful campaigns.

Swiggy found a brand connect in India’s winning spree by showing its personnel ‘delivering defeat’ to each opponent as and when the Rohit Sharma-led team delivered victory on pitch. While the final match led to Australia clinching the cup after a tough fight, Swiggy’s campaign concluded with a congratulatory post in green to the team. Capturing the country’s emotion, it delivered hugs to the Indian team and the trophy to Australia.


Similarly, e-commerce platform Myntra’s #NoLosingPost tugged at India’s heartstrings as it congratulated the winning team. 

This digital-led campaign was also admired by creative experts. 

Optimism sparks admiration 

For Leena Gupta, Creative and Founding Member, Talented the sixer of the season was Myntra’s campaign, where it told other brands to chuck the ‘what if we lose’ creatives. This little creative pushed the advertising and marketing industry to bring in a different approach to their modus operandi. 

She referred to Ather’s IPL 2022 campaign. It was when Gujarat Titans won the finals their principal sponsor, Ather had a half-page ad ready just a few hours after the match ended. 

She added how people on X (Formerly Twitter) and LinkedIn couldn’t possibly fathom this turnaround speed until ad pundits deduced and shared the secret with the digital world that the brand probably had both a winning and losing print ad ready to print, based on the outcome. 

Afterall, even in the advertising world, there are only two possible outcomes. 

Coming back to Mynta’s campaign for 2023, she said, “Brands and agencies have a love-hate relationship with having two ads ready for every match, so when Myntra and The New Thing called it out with long-form copy on social media, it was refreshing. Good advertising often self-references. This, followed by a winning post for Australia, celebrating the spirit of the game, took the trophy.”

The tournament that only comes once in four years is super to spark an advertising festival. This, undoubtedly, brings along a clutter of ads. 

Speaking about this clutter, Rohit Malkani, Jt National Creative Director, L&K Saatchi & Saatchi, mentioned a few campaigns that stood out for Malkani. 

“The barrage of ads during this world cup made the Churchgate-Virar fast look like a ghost train. And staying above the clutter and noise was a mammoth task for brands. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of using a bunch of players(pumping fists) and a ra ra track that is eminently forgettable. Sadly, there were many who did this…yet again,” exclaimed Malkani. 

While this is true, he appreciated a few brands that managed to crack the code. 

“To me a few campaigns stood out, Cadburys dairy Milk with their film exhorting people to share their love for cricket, Oreo ‘Bola Mat Bol’ for its unique take on superstition and Vicks Khol India Bol for an amazing anthem that is wedged firmly in the brand offering,” added he. 

For Arpan Bhattacharya, Executive Creative Director, Lowe Lintas Bangalore, two campaigns stood out during the World Cup.

He said, “The first is the PhonePe medical insurance campaign. Perfect 15-seconder advertising – short, snappy well-produced ads with memorable characters and a sprinkling of humour that makes you chuckle.”

 Another campaign that left a mark on Bhattacharya was Livspace’s #LivspaceYourSpace. It stood out with its tonality and smart approach.  

“The second is the Virat-Anushka Livspace campaign – loved seeing Virat in a new avatar and I thought that the spin on the horrors of poor interiors was very smart,” Bhattacharya added.

Beyond the usual or a missed opportunity?

Ashish Bhasin, Founder, The Bhasin Consulting Group found himself impressed with the high level of engagement this year. However, campaigns, not so much. 

Painting a picture of the cricket frenzy and disconnect in the ad world, Bhasin said, “When you saw the stadium, there were 1,30,000 people in blue T-shirts (jerseys), obviously buying the merchandise. Where the marketers and advertising agencies didn’t do as well as they probably could have was in the area of innovation, I didn't see any spectacular innovation.”

With the advent of AI, many innovative campaigns have followed. From Independence Day to Diwali, the industry has witnessed a wave of tech-led campaigns. 

This upward trend of innovation in campaigns was a miss during the World Cup. 

Bhasin said, “I would have liked to see a lot more innovation and perhaps that's a learning or a lesson for the industry for the next big event or the next World Cup.”

Earlier this year, Adidas entered into a partnership with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). As the official kit sponsor of the Indian cricket team, Adidas launched a fresh jersey for the team blue. To talk about this partnership, Adidas launched #OwnYourStripes, a 360-marketing campaign film starring leading cricketers alongside passionate fans to answer a seemingly simple question – “What does the Indian cricket team jersey mean to you?”

Over the years, Jersey has been used a sponsorship opportunity. Adidas went beyond that and brought simplicity to this underrated point of communication. 

Mukund Olety, CCO, VMLY&R spoke about this blue jersey, striped with the tricolor, highly. 

“My pick in this World Cup is not an ad, but a jersey - The Indian Team jersey for the World Cup by Adidas. The three stripes in the tricolor. There can’t be anything more iconic than that. It may not go on to win any awards but has definitely won the hearts of the Indian cricket fans. With the team performing the way it has been, this is bound to be a game-changer for Adidas,” said Olety.

While two months-long tournament did not result in final victory, experts did consider the optimism in the brandverse a win. After brands brought in a positive approach, consumers too, related with the emotion and went on to cheer for India’s memorable performance. Experts now remain hopeful that creativity and innovation will be taken on a grander scale in the next big sporting event. 

This season showcased a digital-heavy approach from brands, hinting at the evolving landscape of sports advertising. The stage is set for the industry to innovate and elevate its game, ensuring that the next big event or World Cup resonates with even greater creativity and innovation.

ICC Cricket World Cup campaigns ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 Cricket world cup campaigns 2023