Campaign:

Sussex Sharks NatWest T20 Blast 2015

"We loved working with our marketing partner Pleece&Co on the 'Believe in the Dream' marketing campaign. They came up with a great idea for the focal point of the campaign; the aspirational dream of one young cricketer to become the next Sharks Skipper - from beach to square! The idea was reflected in a high end video production and translated really well across all our media and we were delighted with the impact the campaign had on our target audience."

- Tom Rose, Marketing Supervisor, Sussex County Cricket Club


Background:

T20 Blast is the edgy, fast paced, younger sibling of the longer, older, more tranquil version of English cricket.

Our task, set by Sussex CCC, was to increase ticket sales from the previous campaign. With the big-hitting, charismatic captain, Luke Wright, recently installed in the position, we decided to focus on turning him into the campaign’s hero, along with a young Sharks fan who imagines himself as becoming the future Luke.

The Brief:

Our research and experience told us that the most common attendees to a T20 Blast fixture are men aged 40+ residing in the BN area of Sussex. It also told us that a lot of these ‘fans’ would, generally, attend one T20 Blast game a season and would have little ambition to visit again during the season – a box-ticking exercise.

We needed to create a sense of tribalism in the fans, to get them coming back to two, maybe more games and our main tactic to do this was to instigate a sense of closeness between players and fans and thus a campaign was born, focussed on the relationship between fans and players, but also bringing through an aspirational, element, all tied together with the hashtag #SharksTogether

In line with the club’s aims, we were also tasked with attracting more families to T20 Blast games, so we brought in the younger ‘actor’ into the campaign narrative to work alongside Luke, to appeal to this part of the market.

The Creative:

For lots of 40+ men, their first encounters with cricket were playing and listening via crackly radio commentary whilst sunning themselves on beaches in the UK. We wanted to evoke the atmosphere, memories and ambition associated with listening and playing cricket in this context, by showing a video with two young avid Sharks fans setting out on a mission to play cricket on Brighton beach.

We introduced the ‘Believe in the Dream’ tag line, influenced by the experience of the target audience revisiting their beach, cricket listening days of lying in a semi-dream like state whilst listening to said radio commentary, with pictures created in the mind of being transported to the wicket at Lord’s or the Oval – or in this case The BrightonandHoveJobs.com County Ground!

The reference point for the whole campaign was the video, which shows the metamorphosis from beach to square for our young hero and climaxing with him sharing the batting in a T20 Blast fixture with his hero, Luke Wright. Believe in the Dream.

Execution:

A high-end campaign, with an advertising feel, moving away from traditional cricket based marketing into narrative and appealing to a range of target audiences.

The video, the focal point of the campaign, was put onto the Sussex YouTube channel and website and heavily promoted via social media as well as being picked up by the ECB and promoted on their main website.

It then translated to a range of other media in the mix, including Facebook and Google Ads, outdoor, postcards, beermats, 48 sheets, radio and other websites.

The Results:

A 35% increase in ticket sales and an award-winning campaign.

 

In recognition for the impact of the campaign, Sussex Cricket won the Marketing and Communications Award at the ECB’s annual Business of Cricket Awards. The award recognised the campaign’s contribution to four consecutive NatWest T20 Blast sellouts at the County Ground, giving Sussex the highest filled ground in the country (by percentage of ground filled).

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