Four years back on 2nd April, a group of friends escaped a heart attack when Team India's captain cool Dhoni hit a six and lifted the ICC World Cup in Mumbai. A thrilling match against rivals since the period of mythologies Sri Lanka, had their hearts in their mouths and praying at the end of every over for the ad #BleedBlue to be aired.
It was one of their umpteen number of superstitious move to see Tendulkar, Yuvraj, Dhoni or Virat to say "Boundaries are meant to be broken" and hurled abuses to anyone who even dared to hum the tunes of "Come on India Dekha Do", a song by Shankar Mahadevan from the promotional of the year of 1999 World Cup when India stood sixth.
Now that's called the power of a campaign. Some make it big while others break it riding on the performance meter of the team. The campaigns like #BleedBlue and 'Make Every Yard Count' bound the nation together in a passionate, spine-chilling, feeling roaring to win a war. Cricket, as is treated like a religion in India was in these campaigns given an overwhelming status connecting emotionally Indian fans across the globe. And what a brand connect with stupendous positioning. But the year 2015 had lot more worries than ever,and the fact that India is the defending champion was just the starting point.Claiming Big
"It's Never Been This Big"- read the first World Cup promo print ad from the house of Star Sports. How exactly it was going to be bigger, was the question as quite a few things were on stake. First and foremost, the team being the defending champion and yet was in a disastrous condition with shameful losses in England and Australia just days before the ICC World Cup. Second, quite a few campaigns had lived shortly only to see a debacle performance by the team.
Gayatri Yadav, Marketing Director, Star India, takes us through the creative journey from the scratch to the success of the #wewontgiveitback campaign. "Our creative brief going into the World Cup was simple - India was the defending champion - we wanted to capture the desire to retain the cup and showcase the spirit and aggression of this new, young team India. That led to the launch campaign "we won't give it back". Defiant and aggressive, the campaign served as a rallying cry for fans backing India's bid to hold on to cricket's most coveted prize."
India was slated to play Pakistan in the first match of the World Cup. Now what a start can that be! If history had to repeat itself, Pakistan would not have a chance. And this is it. Pakistan had never won a match against India in the World Cup! It is a fact that we all Indians love, proudly boast of - but who would have thought that this could be a creative route that will eventually turn out to be a blockbuster campaign?
The much loved 'Mauka Mauka' ad is undoubtedly one of the most well-planned and executed cricket ads ever. It strokes the right emotional chords, and with humour and humility the ad became a spot on hit. The best part of the idea was that the ad didn't show much of cricket or talked about the great stars in the team. It just beautifully put across the emotions of cricket lovers. Moreover, it didn't show an Indian fan praying or playing, but surprisingly a Pakistani fan became the centre of attraction. And it said everything.
Yadav continues, "An India-Pakistan match is perhaps even bigger than the World Cup for millions of Indians as well as Pakistani fans. The game is also the biggest unifying factor in the country regardless of age, gender or if you're a sports fan or not. We wanted a campaign, which would capture the attention of the nation and have a life of its own, but still be a part of the larger umbrella campaign #wontgiveitback.
The creative brief for the India-Pakistan encounter to our internal sports creative team was clear, we were 5-0 against Pakistan having beaten them in all previous encounters at the World Cup and we should not give this record up.
The team led by Juju Basu, Creative Communications Head, Star India, Mustafa Rangwala and Rohit Khanna, Vice President - Marketing, Star Sports came up with a unique take to this brief. What if we saw the same story of 5-0 not from the point of view of the victor but the vanquished? What if we captured the angst of a Pakistani fan, who has been waiting for a 'Mauka" (opportunity) to celebrate since 1992? We were excited about the idea as disruptive and original stoking fan passion in a unique way; however, was very clear that the treatment needed a lightness of touch, given the history of rivalry between the two nations."The 'Mauka'
Hours after the campaign was released the creative team knew a bigger challenge was awaiting them following the results of the matches. "We released the film on digital a week before the game on Feb 7th. The morning after the online release, within 12 hours of going online, the film had organically crossed a million views. The film perhaps did more to bring fans both sides of the border together than any other more overt peace-building communication initiative. At that point we knew we didn't just have a campaign to do; we had a narrative or a "Mauka mini-series" to carry through the World Cup. The next game gave us the chance to reverse the story. India had played South-Africa four times before in the World Cup and had never won. This time the joke was on us. The ability to laugh at one's own predicament won the hearts of fans on both sides of the border and the film created love for brand Star Sports. The "Mauka" story took on a momentum of its own," Yadav said.
Now the question arrived, what if we lose? A game can go either way and Star was prepared for both eventualities on every "Mauka" creative. "During the group games we would watch the match and then script and produce films for both outcomes for the next game. We also stayed in constant touch with the online audience as we neared release, which helped us make minor tweaks depending on fan sentiment closer to the next game. We created two versions for every film and released the edit based on the outcome. Thankfully, so far, we have not had to release the "loser" edit," Yadav informs.
So, loads of thanks to the Indian cricket team for continuing with their good performances and hence giving us a chance to see the better side of the 'Mauka' ad. But is it really sheer luck that is helping the campaign cruise into success? Yes, it is tons of luck that the 'Mauka Mauka' ad got extended but there is no denying the fact that it had won hearts in its very first attempt no matter what was the outcome going to be.
Brand Guru Jagdeep Kapoor, Chairman and Managing Director, Samsika, opines, "The ad enters the minds and hearts of the cricket loving TV viewer and immediately gets a smile as a response. It is unique because it is timely, relevant and contextual. Many ads have text, but fail because they do not have a context. This ad has a great text (script and jingle) and also has the relevant context. Therefore, it is successful."
Saurabh Uboweja, Founder, CEO & Director, Brand Strategy at Brands of Desire, expresses, "India is the defending champion. There is a lot riding on the fortunes of India in this World Cup. The 'Mauka' series is a smart attempt to monetize the inherent equity in an India World Cup match. The intelligence lies in positioning specific matches in the World Cup as brands rather than the tournament as a whole. The single biggest USP is: Timing. Timing. Timing."A New Star
In the process Star Sports has unbelievably rebuilt and reposition their brand in a completely fresh manner. Whether Star Sports keeps up with the momentum or not, whether India will win the World Cup or not - time will tell. But as of now, are we witnessing the biggest cricket campaign ever, really!
Well, on one hand we have campaigns full of attitude like 'Make every yard count', 'Bleed Blue', 'Nothing official about it', 'Bring it on' etc. where we have all got an adrenaline rush having a situation of 'do or die'. Now on the other hand we have this, a fun-filled, simple, humorous take on the emotional fans of Indian cricket.
Experts are all praise about the campaign and are already considering it as one of the biggest campaigns of all time. Uboweja says, "Given how traditional and social media is interconnected today, we can say it has been one of the best campaigns. In fact, it has all the attributes of a viral. Content that polarizes or unites public opinion has the ability to go viral if the context is relevant."
Kapoor assesses, "I would definitely place it right on top in terms of cricket since its timeliness, use of appropriate language, its connection with the viewer and its anticipatory preparation, (based on results of the match) gives it an edge. The best response is when one viewer a little later meets another viewer and asks, "Arre, have you seen the Mauka Mauka ad?"
Now when it is all about India against the world, what could be possibly the signing off to the campaign? Well let's keep our fingers crossed and as the Star Sports team says, "Enjoy the latest 'Mauka' film at the moment and keep watching this space."