NatWest’s Secret Cricketer Helps Win Back Pride

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A great example of a rounded sponsorship commitment to both the professional and the amateur sides of a sport comes from NatWest’s cricket investment. From a heritage of backing test and country cricket, right through to its CricketForce amateur and grass roots initiative, the brand has a long and deeply embedded role in supporting English cricket.

 

A fine example of its fresh approach to bridging the divide between the two sides of the game came via its 2011 Secret Cricketer initiative for its CricketForce campaign.

 

The UK bank created a heart-warming digital project to raise some laughs in addition to the morale of poor cricketers and losing cricket teams across the country with the Michael Vaughan fronted initiative.

 

The campaign’s roots lie in the 2006 amateur match which saw Goldsborough Cricket Club Seconds lose to Dishforth Cricket Club win what is the worst performance and biggest ever defeat in modern cricket histyory. Goldsborough were all out for ‘0’. That season the loosing team was relegated and thus had not met conqueror Dishforth in a competitive match since.

 

But in August 2011 the two teams finally met again.

 

Cricket sponsor NatWest secretly decided to give Goldsborough a boost in their efforts to win back some pride. NatWest secretly slipped the team a new player, a ringer called Gary Watson who had supposedly just moved in to the Goldsborough area. But Gary was actually former England test team captain Michael Vaughan in heavy disguise.

 

The concept, by Glue Isobar (with PR by M&C Saatchi Sports & Entertainment), aimed to showcase NatWest’s support for grassroots cricket. Watson/Vaughan played a significant innings in the match which Goldsborough won with a couple of balls to spare (although Vaughan himself was out before he had the chance to score the winning runs).

 

The whole stunt and match was secretly filmed and footage went viral across the web.

 

Comment:

 

From touching on the classic role of the ‘ringer’ in amatuer cricket, to playing on the importance of history and the spirit of the game, this campaign was seen as a great success across almost all quarters of the game.

 

This is reflected in its million-plus YouTube views and the acres of free column inches it earned.

 

The fact that Vaughan didn’t quite manage to pull off the coup himself, but that the village team itself earned the win ensured the scheme fitted in neatly with the amateurish spirit of the English game.

 

Links:

 

NatWest YouTube

 

CricketForce

 

NatWest Cricket Twitter

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