Coca-Cola India leveraged its 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup sponsorship in the Indian market with a 100-day, multi-phase activation programme.
Coca-Cola became an official ICC partner in January 2019, ending Pepsi’s long-time official non-alcoholic beverages partnership. The five-year global tie-up, spanning Coke’s entire brand portfolio, covers the ICC 2019 One-Day World Cup, the 2020 T20 World Cups in Australia, the 2021 Women’s One Day World Cup in New Zealand and the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in India in 2023 among other tournaments.
Agency: McCann Worldgroup
The umbrella sponsorship conforms to Coca-Cola’s ongoing marketing approach: being an optimistic part of peoples’ lives, present in their moments of joy and laughter, in sports, music and celebrations.
The brand aimed to use the World Cup – hosted in England & Wales but the subject of ferocious public engagement in India, easily the biggest cricket market – to ‘get Coca-Cola into every Indian’s heart and shopping basket’, through special Cricket World Cup moments for consumers.
The brief was to create a multi-phase, integrated activation programme that
- maintained the brand’s existing online and offline engagement approach in India
- reflected fans’ intense desire to see India lift the trophy
- built brand love through creatively compelling stories that shape emotions.
Coca-Cola’s World Cup creative in India was built around three key phases: pre-tournament competitions and promotions led by ‘Stock Up’, a central ‘12th Man’ campaign, plus a low-latency action-related activation programme.
In total the activation spanned more than 100 days.
The work, which spanned multiple touchpoints and featured a group of cricketers, celebrities and influencers as well as brand-created and consumer-created content to maximise national reach and mass appeal, primarily took an emotional route to reflect the fact cricket is India’s number one passion and unites its billion citizens regardless of geography, gender and social-economic segment.
Stock Up & Get Match Ready
Ahead of the tournament, Coca-Cola rolled out the ‘Stock Up & Get Match Ready’ campaign ,focused on driving purchasing and consumption, incentivised by a ticket competition that offered Indian fans an opportunity of the trip of a lifetime to the World Cup in England and Wales.
The creative was fronted by actors Ranbir Kapoor and Paresh Rawal, encouraging cricket fans to stock-up on Coca-Cola in advance, so as not to miss any cricket. It was spearheaded by a TV spot that sought to drive viewers to the competition digital hub, click on the ‘Participate Now’ button, enter a mobile number and then type in the 14-digit KO code from their Coca Cola bottle.
Coca-Cola also supported the lead spot through content across its social channels.
A bottle of Coca-Cola is all you need to enjoy the final of the ICC World Cup live in London. So if you haven’t already, grab a Coke, and participate in the contest on Coke2home. https://t.co/BivoyqP5tZ pic.twitter.com/ExwCxHTFva
— Coca-Cola India (@CocaCola_Ind) May 17, 2019
The next activation phase explored the supporter feeling they are all in some sense the ‘12th Man’.
It was led by a hero spot, launched on 12 June, which starred India cricketers Rishabh Pant (who was on the Indian team standby list) and Yuvraj Singh, with a voice-over by the returning Kapoor. It ran with the copy: “To be part of the team, you don’t need to be in the team. Let the billion stand by the playing 11.”
The campaign received a PR boost when Pant was flown to England to join the squad as cover.
Supporting content, linked by the hashtags #BeThe12thMan and #CricketWithCoke, included Coca-Cola brand ambassadors and influencers encouraging fans to share their 12th Man stories socially, while Coke’s marketers also captured and shared voxpops featuring 12th man stories from across India. A ‘12th Man’ filter let fans express themselves on Snapchat.
Supporting activation + Powerade launch
The third activation phase saw Coca-Cola roll out a range of physical and digital ads and experiences before, during and after matches.
These included on-ground, in-stadium and in-store initiatives (in six languages) spanning product sampling and giveaways, promotions and on-pack limited edition bottles with promotional codes, food partnerships and e-commerce strands on its own website (Coke2Home), bar-led initiatives with Coke Zero, branded coolers and parasols in stadiums, mid-wicket Coke branding on TV screens, sight-screen presence and prime perimeter branding, plus real-time contextual content and one-on-one communication with consumers with special events and experiences in 21 cities.
The company activated its umbrella ‘World Without Waste’ mission with recycling initiatives at stadiums and human billboards with a recycling message to create awareness and encourage fans to return cans for recycling at fan zones and stadia.
It also used the tournament as the vehicle to launch Powerade – the official sports drink of the 2019 Cricket World Cup – into the country.
The isotonic sports drink entered the market during the tournament with a campaign fronted by Indian cricket super star Mahendra Singh Dhoni, as well as a brand and product presence in the official athlete training zones and in the ‘hydration breaks’ during matches.
Coca-Cola’s activation programme in India generated more than four billion impressions across social platforms, garnered a cumulative 770 million video views and generated 160,000 social conversations.
The work notched up more than 180 million views on free-to-air television and 200 million views on pay-television channel Hotstar.
The brand says it notched up 360 million impressions through its ‘Branded Cards’, placed contextually during live games on Hotstar, plus an additional 100 million interactions with its digital innovations including a ‘Heart’ cheer button on Hotstar and its ‘12th Man’ Snapchat filter.
Coca-Cola reported 3.9 million entries to its competitions and special promotions, which saw 250 people win the all-expenses paid trip to watch the World Cup matches live.