How Star Sports Leveraged From #IndVsPak While Other Brands Failed On Digital

Star Sports came out a clear winner on TV and social media during the India Pakistan ICC cricket match while other brands failed. We look at why it happened

Star Sports IndVsPak match

Valentine’s Day this year was overshadowed by the excitement of the India-Pakistan cricket match. The weekend was perfectly set up for the clash of the titans in Adelaide, Australia. India won its first ICC Cricket World Cup match by 76 runs – a historic win since Pakistan has lost for the sixth time to India in a world cup match.

An India-Pakistan cricket game is a big money spinner than a World Cup Cricket final. This time the rivalry was not just offline but on social media as well. IndVsPak and PakVsInd had been trending days before the game and on the match day, all Twitter trends were just about the game and cricket.

“There were 118.3 Million live Tweet impressions for #INDvPAK during the #CWC15 match window affirming that Twitter has become the de facto #SecondScreen for TV viewers in India,” said Twitter India in its blog. Facebook said that globally 9 million people had 25 million Facebook interactions related to the cricket match.

According to International Cricket Council, a billion people watched the game, clearly a much larger event than the Super Bowl – the annual championship game of the National Football League. But did marketers cash in from the event, apart from buying a spot on TV did they encourage or participate in conversations on Twitter?


Star Sports won on TV and social media

Except for Star Sports not a single brand cashed in from the event on TV and digital. “The Star Sports ad was not only contextual but they were also quick to follow up with the post match visual. Besides they also built on the second screen experience with Twitter. I just feel that the whole thing was really planned well,” Amaresh Godbole, MD India at Digitas LBi said.

Star Sports, the official broadcaster of the ongoing ICC World Cup 2015 initially started with its aggressive campaign #wontgiveitback. Taking it further just a week before the India-Pakistan match, it sparked up the rivalry with the launch of a minute long video. Taking inspiration from the fact that India holds the bragging rights of having defeated Pakistan in all world cup games, the one minute long TVC expressed the frustration of a Pakistani fan who is waiting to celebrate one win by bursting crackers.

Having caught the pulse of the cricket crazy nation, the funny, pun-filled film has got more than 1.7 M views. Star Sports had also asked fans to decide which way the game will swing with #IndWins and #PakWins. Clearly the brand built on conversations over the TVC on Twitter.

However, the brand didn’t stop at this; it was also ready with the roundup post on the game - a classic example of real time marketing in today’s times. The below visual shared on Facebook and Twitter became viral at once, enabling fans to carry further the conversation.

Others brands failed

Star Sports wasn’t the only brand that caught viewers’ attention, Fevikwik’s ‘Todo Nahin, Jodo‘ 40 second spot also grabbed attention. The strategically launched TVC during this captivating match, captures the daily faceoff between Indian and Pakistani soldiers at the Wagah Border in a humorous and light-hearted manner.

While the TVC got some positive mentions on Twitter, the brand lost the opportunity to cash in; perhaps it felt that the Twitter audience isn’t its target audience. “India-Pakistan match is the biggest sport in the country and you have guaranteed audiences but most of the brands failed to utilize it except Fevikwik,” added Anant Rangaswami, Editor of Storyboard on CNBC TV18 about the TVC.

Dettol was one of the brand that received the maximum backlash on Twitter for its silly ad. The mindless jingle of Dettol that failed to connect with the online audience got the brand trended for all the wrong reasons. “Dettol and Lloyd, were traditional old school advertising. I wish someone took the narrative forward a little to build conversations on social media. I wish brands could loosen up a bit,” added Nishad Ramachandran Digital Head at Hansa Cequity.

Given any other day the ad would have not got such a negative feedback but the ad playing during the final moments of such a high power game was enough to be killed on Twitter.

While some may debate that brand managers might be happy that the ad got people talking, Anant thinks that many astute marketers understand what negative sentiments mean. “While many marketers may only play for a TV audience, they do understand the impact of negative sentiments. Even in the era before digital, marketers wanted people to talk good about the ad and share it.” He further added that, “I will be shocked if Dettol ignores these conversations as they are real conversations who pay money to buy the product. No marketer can afford to do so in today’s times.”

The major difference between the success of Star Sports and other brands was crucial contextual planning missing. “Most of the brands missed out in contextual planning. The other thing that brands missed out was tapping the second screen experience,” informed Amaresh while talking about how Chevy Game Time used the second screen experience during the Super Bowl.

In India, Twitter which has emerged as the default second screen experience, could have been used by brands. Star Sports did really well by leveraging Twitter during the game to spike conversations on its ad and later to push real time content.

With the India-South Africa match set for next Sunday, Star Sports is now carrying its TVC further. Data says that India has never won against South Africa in a world cup game, Star’s new TVC is asking viewers, can the Men in Blue break the jinx? The video that is already being shared on social media has got more than 478K views.


Star Sports has not only won the hearts of fans on TV and social media but has also set a benchmark on how to leverage from a sporting event that has a tremendous impact on social media too. “It is just the inertia and nothing else that is stopping other brands. Brands have to understand that today communication is more real time, while you can’t produce a real time TVC but you can pre-plan scenarios and always have two edits of a video or visuals when you have such a big opportunity. Looking now at Star Sports, other brands will get there and will have better integrated planning,” Amaresh summed up.