As the women’s teams begin this year’s Ashes summer, Commonwealth Bank (CommBank) leverages its partnership with Cricket Australia with a ‘Levelling The Playing Field’ commitment that blends one of the country’s biggest diversity campaigns with the single largest investment in women’s sport in Australia
The initiative reflects the bank’s belief ‘that cricket is a sport for all’ and its objective for ‘cricket to be the most inclusive sport in Australia’.
The multi-platform campaign, developed with agency M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment, is led by a flagship TV spot called ‘Levelling The Playing Field’.
This hero spot is amplified socially across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter,
— CommBank (@CommBank) October 18, 2017
where the sponsor also continues to activate around its rights and to promote the women’s game with match-relevant content.
— CommBank (@CommBank) October 26, 2017
The campaign promotes CommBank’s increased support for diversity and community cricket programs: over three years the financial brand is investing (Aus) $15m into cricket for women and other diversity initiatives that it hopes ‘will bring a greater mix of players onto the pitch and into the limelight’.
One strand of the CommBank and Cricket Australia initiative to change the way Australians see women in sport is via an investment enhancing the broadcast experience for viewers of the historic, first Ashes day-night Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes Test on 9 November.
This means that fans will be able to experience the live stream in full HD, courtesy of broadcast quality equipment and a highly experienced production team, for the first time in the women’s game.
Plus, an all-female commentary team – including former Australia stars Mel Jones and Lisa Sthalekar, and former England stars Charlotte Edwards and Isa Guha – will provide expert insights of the on-field action.
As well as these blended marketing and financial moves to boost women’s cricket, CommBank is also championing inclusion in the sport by supporting All Abilities and multicultural players.
The strands of this joint CommBank and Cricket Australia initiative include:
> Funding for Australia’s national disability teams and get them access to the same high-performance support that other elite representative cricket teams receive.
> Commissioning a tour by Australia’s Indigenous women’s and men’s squads of England in 2018 to commemorate the renowned all-Aboriginal team tour of England in 1868.
> Jointly funding with Cricket Australia the $1 million Growing Cricket for Girls Fund
> CommBank has provided more than one million dollars in grants, sponsorships and cricket gear to 395 to local cricket clubs around the country over the last five years.
“We’ve supported the Australian Women’s Cricket and development teams since 1999 but last year, we shifted the focus of our partnership with Cricket Australia to create more opportunities for our players at both the elite and grassroots level,” commented CommBank’s acting chief marketing officer Monique Macleod.
“We are particularly focused on strengthening the foundations of cricket for women, Indigenous players, players with disabilities, and at local clubs across Australia.”
“Cricket is an integral part of Australian culture and society. We have a shared vision with Commonwealth Bank and believe Australians deserve equal opportunity to take part in the game at all levels,” outlines M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment managing director Jamie Gilbert-Smith.
“There’s truth in the saying, ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ and we’re delighted that through our work with Commonwealth Bank and Cricket Australia, we’ll be playing a part in levelling the playing field and giving all Australians the inspiration and means to get involved in the national game.”
This Ashes activation, campaign and commitment follows on from CommBank’s work earlier in June when it rolled out its first major activation since shifting its core Cricket Australia (CA) partnership to the women’s team with an initiative timed to leverage rising interest around the current ICC Women’s World Cup.
The ‘How Much Do You Really Know About Australian Cricket?’ campaign was spearheaded by a set of Q&A led spots, launched ahead of the tournament on 25 June, which came in both 50-second versions and 15-second cut-downs.
The campaign highlighted the fact that the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars are the current ICC T20 and 50-over World Cup champions and were the number one ranked team in the world and all ad iterations and campaign assets aimed to drive viewers to the bank’s digital cricket hub at www.commbank.com.au/cricket
CommBank has supported women’s cricket for the last 18 years and its previous four year CA deal, which was announced back in May 2013, included name sponsorship rights to the Australian Test team (including on-kit logos) whilst playing at home and for the home test match series.
Over the last 28 years CommBank has backed CA from the grassroots game to the elite men’s team – most recently as the top tier platinum partner of CA.
The partnership spanned the elite men’s team and home test series, the women’s team, the Commonwealth Bank Cricket Academy, plus Cricket Victoria, the Australian Country Cricket Championship, the national indigenous tournament called The Imparja Cup, as well as the award winning, grassroots CommBank Cricket Club initiative (see previous case study).
The new deal and the switch focus and support follows on from other similar recent partnerships in Australia between big brands and women’s sport: such as Netball Australia’s alliances with Telstra, Suncorp and Samsung and several commercial partners backing the AFL’s new women’s league.
M&C Saatchi S&E Australia