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How Sky Sports and Rapport UK made England believe in Cricket World Cup glory


By Awards Analyst, writer

December 1, 2019 | 6 min read

Rapport UK was highly commended at The Drum Out of Home Awards 2019 for its ‘We Believed’ campaign for Sky Sports’ Cricket World Cup coverage. Here, the agency reveals the challenges faced and the strategies used to deliver this successful project.

The challenge

For most of us the Cricket World Cup began on the 30 May 2019, but for England this had been four years in the making. Going into the tournament as favourites was not something England are used to in any sport, so the pressure was certainly on.

Sky Sports invested in exclusive rights for the Cricket World Cup, sensing what a huge moment this could be.

"We are proud to be the broadcaster for a home Cricket World Cup - one of the world's biggest and most exciting sporting events. Our aim has always been to celebrate what could be a 'once in a generation' moment of a home team in a big final on home soil. So, if England reach the final, we will make the match available to everyone so the whole country can be part of a rare and special big sporting moment." - Stephen van Rooyen, chief executive of Sky UK and Ireland

Our brief was to ensure the nation felt the gravitas of the event, to build excitement as England (hopefully) progress and, of course, celebrate with the nation if the dream comes true.

The strategy

It was important to be loud and disruptive, as Sunday 14 July was also to host the Men’s Tennis Wimbledon Singles Final and the British Grand Prix. Therefore, getting the nation to tune in to watch the cricket would be no easy victory, even with England participating.

We knew the flexibility of Digital OOH made it a perfect platform for our campaign. With DOOH now reaching 67% of the UK each week, this national network could also give us the scale provided across all environments. We needed to make an impact at key times for viewing and have the flexibility to adapt creative and bookings dependent on England results. After all, if England got knocked out or didn’t win the final, we needed to stop the campaign straight away.

Our OOH campaign needed to be able to react to the unpredictability of live sport, and we needed creative and space available and ready to go live dependent on results.

scricket world cup campaign - night

The campaign

Working closely with Sky Creative and the OOH media owners we were able to plan a campaign without guaranteeing live dates or even whether the campaign would go ahead – pushing the boundaries of the flexibility of DOOH.

Thursday 11 July – England vs. Australia CWC Semi-Final

Our OOH kicked off the minute it was confirmed that England had made it through to the Semi-Final. Our DOOH was broadcast across 1,552 x Digital 6s focusing on Roadside, Rail and Underground environments, with 31 x Landmark locations. With the match to begin at 10:30am we increased our commuter delivery to maximise exposure to people travelling in to work. A simple creative message of ‘START BELIEVING’ delivered over 8m impacts throughout the day.

As England conquered their fiercest rivals in a devastating display we updated our creative to #BELIEVE with details of how to watch the final and imagery from the match. The victory also automatically triggered further investment in OOH, delivering another 23m impacts from Friday to Sunday on an additional 1,255 DOOH screens. This creative also included the announcement that Sky had agreed to broadcast the final free-to-air… giving everyone the opportunity to be part of this rare and special event.

sky sports cricket world cup outdoor ad campaign 3

Sunday 14 July – England vs. New Zealand CWC Final

The Cricket World Cup Final. A day that will go down in the history of English sport. A truly unforgettable Sunday will be remembered for courage, bravery and of course the now famous Super Over!

With the main focus of our brief being to celebrate what could be a ‘once in a generation moment’ we knew we needed to create an unmissable OOH campaign.

However, we also knew we would only get the result on Sunday evening… not the traditional OOH trading day! We therefore set up a dynamic OOH campaign with triggers to go live if England were to win – this had never been done at this scale before. With client, agencies and media owners all working together we planned an ‘all or nothing’ DOOH campaign in the hope England would win…

And boy did they win!

At 7:30pm on Sunday 14 July, minutes after the result had been confirmed, our DOOH blitz campaign went live across the nation. With 5,662 DOOH screens live for 36 hours, with increased SOV, we created an epic OOH campaign across roadside, rail, underground, shopping malls and offices.

Sky Sports reacted quickest to England’s first ever World Cup victory with match imagery telling the nation WE BELIEVED!

All of this was delivered via our Rapportal DOOH tool, delivering creative to over 130 individual specs and seven different media owners, while also tracking our plays as the campaign went live.

sky sports cricket world cup outdoor ad campaign 4

The results

Sky Sports not only showcased the action live across 8.8m homes in the UK… they believed!

And with the help of dynamic DOOH they encouraged the nation to get behind England as the tournament progressed; and they were the first to react at 7:30pm on Sunday evening, utilising a massive 5,662 DOOH screens across England with match day images of Ben Stokes to celebrate England’s first ever Cricket World Cup win!

This project was highly commended at The Drum Out of Home Awards 2019. Click here to register your interest in next year's event.

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