A lot is at stake for the defending champions this ICC World Cup 2015. With Cricket being a religion in the country of a billion people the load gets heavier. With no star power the young team led by our very own captain cool, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has surprised every one with seven straight wins in the ongoing World Cup. India is just two games away from retaining the World Cup.
Global partner for the ICC Cricket World Cup, MRF Tyres thought of sharing the load since a lot is riding on the Indian cricketers. MRF is known for its association with the sport by way of the Pace Foundation Academy – an institute known for finding fast bowling talent for the country.
This global association between MRF and ICC saw India’s largest tyre manufacturing company launch its first TVC around the World Cup. Conceptualised by Lowe Lintas, Chennai, the film showcases the hopes of millions of Indians riding on the cricketer to retain the trophy. The ad rolls over the iconic song, “Saare Jahan se Achcha”.
The film ends with a shot of the bus’ tyres (MRF) and the words, “There’s a lot riding on us.”
Taking the message from the brand communication of “ride along”, digital agency Experience Commerce decided to launch a branded mobile app to connect with fans. “We went ahead with a mobile app for two reasons – (a) the core idea behind the app was a great fit with the mainline campaign and (b) we wanted to experiment with this engagement format. There was an untapped opportunity in doing ‘second screen’ creatively,” said Sandip Maiti, CEO at Experience Commerce while appreciating the brand that was ready to experiment with a new medium.
With too many questions and very few answers around a branded app, MRF took the risk and launched the app with great fanfare. MRF invited its brand ambassador and cricketing god Sachin Tendulkar to launch the real time mobile app – Ride Along. “While other apps give you staple things like live scores and commentary, our app gives you a chance to applaud for Virat Kohli when he hits a century, or pray for Team India when it’s in trouble, with thousands of others – all in real time,” said Koshy K. Varghese, Executive Vice President for marketing at MRF Tyres.
”The idea of second-screen engagement is not new to India. But it has not been used for cricket before.” Sandip added that today fans are always connected with their friends through social networks and chat messengers. “We wanted to give every fan the opportunity they need to fuel conversations around cricket.”
Real time content with Ride Along mobile app
The mobile app launches on your mobile screen as if you are watching the game live in action. The home screen lists details of the games that are in action or about to happen. Tap on any of the games that are in action and you will receive ball by ball updates of the match. Tap on the menu button on the extreme left and you are shown features like schedule, standings, how to ride the app and the ways to engage with the app are listed.
One of the exciting feature of the app is the Cards Gallery sitting at the bottom of the app. Tap on it and you have features like Memes, Trivia, Quiz, Polls, Cheer and Prediction Cards. The below visual gives a quick look at the cards being hosted on the app.
All the features embedded on the app are easy and simple to understand. Showcasing the key moments of the match, the predictions, the cheers in a creative way are the plus points of the app. Not only are the visuals likeable, it also motivates you to share the cards on social media. Check the below on Whab’s fiery spell or celebration time on Dhoni’s 100 wins as a captain.
Besides all these visuals are shared real time, so while you are watching the game you just want to share all these creative and witty visuals with your community. “Along with the multimedia effects, we got our best copywriters on board and churned out some decent visuals for the mobile team to push them at the right time of the game,” added Sandip while sharing that along with memes, pushing trivia cards has also received good results.
Sandip also informed that content has played a big role during the pushing of cards on the mobile in real time. “Not only do I have to know cricket, I have to create an interesting copy too, and I have to push it out in a matter of thirty seconds to one minute. So far it has been a unique experiment.”
The app has a gamified angle to the user activities too. The more a user interacts and engages within the app, the higher is the user score. Users stand to win free vouchers too. The Scorecard section sitting at the bottom of the app is the feature to tap on to know more about it.
Giving a sneak peek on the numbers: Ride Along mobile app crossed more than 6000 signups in the third week of its launch. Additionally, average votes per card has been 180+ and shares per card are at 20+. These numbers are bound to change quite a bit with India progressing now to the semi finals.
Social media channels of MRF Tyres, Facebook and Twitter have focused on promoting the amazing mobile content – be it memes, trivia, or polls.
— MRF Tyres (@MRFWorldwide) March 6, 2015
— MRF Tyres (@MRFWorldwide) March 10, 2015
— MRF Tyres (@MRFWorldwide) March 18, 2015
An immersive second screen experience
Over the years, we have generally seen that brands promoting cricket have been either focused on recording a cheer or sending messages to cricket stars. And we aren’t sure how many cricketers have even read those messages!
This ICC World Cup saw a very low level of support from brands apart from the official sponsors. In fact most brands joined the cheering queue only after India’s nonstop winning spree. With Star Sports launching #Wontgiveitback and the Mauka Mauka ad series, MRF jumping with something new is quite a surprise, specially at a time when branded apps hardly drive any engagement.
However, MRF’s Ride Along mobile app breaks that notion and this goes out to show that fans are hungry for good content; if a brand can deliver it in real time along with context, it will click. Experience Commerce’s focus on bringing creativity to content, MRF’s will to test a new medium and the clever use of social media to promote the mobile content have really pushed the app by bringing fans closer to the game. In fact it poses a good competition to Twitter’s second screen experience for the game.
With just three more games to go before the cricketing champions of 2015 are decided, MRF Tyres has won the engagement game with its branded app. It is acquiring users as well as motivating them to engage with its content in real time – truly a second screen experience.
The mobile app is also an innovation from MRF in a space where a brand is building a sports community on mobile. It would be interesting to see how the brand takes it further post the World Cup.