Reliance Communications, India’s largest telecoms provider, bases its marketing on enhancing its customers experience of India’s three passions – cinema, music and cricket.
ICC global partner Reliance Communications’s status as a key player in the 2011 ICC 50-Over Cricket World Cup was reflected in a raft of innovative activation initiatives across India.
The brand’s cricket association dates back to 1987 and in addition to its ICC Global Partner sponsorship status it also offered a live ICC World Cup match streaming service on selected handsets via a monthly package.
The main thrust of activity was ‘Best Wishes’ campaign – launched in January 2011 – and perhaps the most eye-catching aspect of campaign was the ‘signature’ strand. This revolved around collecting signatures from members of the public to wish the Indian Cricket team the best of luck for the tournament and promote the spirit of the game.
The flagship element was a 30 foot high cricket bat in Chandigrath on which members of the public signed their names and wrote their good luck messages. Cricketer Ishant Sharma started the signature campaign by putting his own signature on the giant bat – which stayed on site until the end of the competition.
Organised collaboration with Chandigarh Tourism, the bat (30 ft x 4 ft) was full of names within a few hours of the launch so the flex surface was changed regularly to allow more people to sign it. It was eventually handed to the India team.
Another interesting aspect of Reliance’s Cricket World Cup sponsorship was its ‘Boundaries For Books’ initiative backing non profit organisation ‘Room To Read’. Each six hit in the tournament ensured 30+ kids access to libraries with books and teachers.
Room to Read was the ICC’s charity partner for the 2011 World Cup and Reliance Life contributed Rs 25000 for every six hit during the World Cup. The proceeds were used to build libraries and provide books (English and local language) to under-privileged children in India.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Dale Steyn, Shane Watson, Angelo Matthews and Ricky Ponting all contributed to this cause by recording promotional messages for the campaign.
The idea is to promote literacy amongst children who do not have access to educational material, as these children are the future of our country. The programme ties in with the existing Reliance ‘Big FM, Big Cinema & Big CBS’ platforms promoting its ’Hit illiteracy for a Six‘ campaign.
Donations were made online and cricket prizes were given to the biggest donors.
A well thought out range of activity that ranged from connecting with a tournament-related service, a flagship interactive ambient experience that generated massive PR, to more traditional advertising and messaging as well as CSR work. Perhaps the most impressive angle was to keep the activity closely tied in to the core of the company’s offering ensuring an element of synergy between the sponsorship rights and the brand.