T20 cricket is an extremely deadly format of the game. One dot ball in the last over or one six can change the entire game. Winners can be losers and losers can be winners. Who would have imagined that the 4 champion sixes from Carlos Brathwaite would snatch the game away from the English. Or for that matter the India-Bangladesh game, where Bangladesh just needed 3 runs from the last 3 balls, instead they gave away 3 wickets. This thrilling aspect of the game has kept it alive, and is also the reason behind the popularity of IPL and brand confidence in the shorter format of the game.
Cricketers are not the only ones to seek thrill, thrill buffs can be found everywhere. For instance if you are a passionate biker you would know what thrill means to you. It could be taking your bike for a long ride on rain-soaked roads or if you are a dirt rider then track is your playground for stunts.
In other words thrill is one of the aspect that connects T20 cricket and biking. Madras Rubber Factory or MRF Tyres – the Global Partner for ICC events from 2016 – decided to bring together Indian bikers who enjoy the thrill of T20 cricketing games; this way they could have some fun as well as cheer for ICC World T20 games and India.
To begin with, MRF Tyres released a fresh anthem that carries forward the brand’s existing message: “There’s a lot riding on us.” The anthem played during the games as ads, created enough buzz. On Facebook the ad fetched more than a million plus views and on YouTube it has clocked over 3000 views.
Ride Along with MRF App
Ride Along with MRF app was launched with fanfare prior to the ICC World Cup 2015. Back then the idea of building a mobile app was to experiment with this second screen engagement format during the games. The app gave the 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!
With the intention of promoting the MRF NV Series two wheeler tyres, the latest app was made to target the passionate biker community in the country and tie them around the thrill aspect of the game. “Last time the idea was all about second screen experience, this time the app is not just a cricket app but a passionate bikers-only app. The whole positioning of the app is on the bikers and then on cricket. Besides we also wanted to see if we are successful in holding consistent attention of fans through the app,” informed Sandip Maiti, CEO at Experience Commerce, the digital agency behind the campaign.
To play this ICC WT20 2016 in true rider style, a 30-second Virat Kohli video was launched. The aim was to inform about the app and drive bikers to enjoy the T20 World Cup on the app.
Armed with a size of 21 MB, the app had a 27-day game plan with 4 MRF NV levels that had 150 challenges, which tested the true bikers on their passion of riding and cricket. Every day 5 challenges were given to the riders based on the games that were going to be played on that day and players needed to start collecting points. All this competition on mobile was for being one of the MRF Thrill Ambassadors.
These challenges included biking and cricket quizzes, viewing and reacting and showcasing talent via creating photos, videos and audio. All these activities if done right fetched points and that resulted in getting invited to T20 World Cup matches. 20 riders got the privilege to be the MRF Thrill Ambassadors in every game. Also, MRF merchandise and other grand prizes were up for grabs.
Sandip informed that the selection criteria for the MRF Thrill Ambassadors were based on factors that considered players who not only played the game diligently, but also created great content.
Apart from daily games, the app had sections like Gallery (collection of the top photos and videos shared by participants), My License, How To Ride, list of the Thrill Ambassadors and Thrill Diary. My License and Thrill Diary caught my attention as both had something unique to offer.
My License is a digital license that not only collects the required biker details but it also gives you a chance on how you can contribute to the community. That would be either by spreading cricket tips, or biker knowledge or creating great content or just by spreading the word.
Thrill Diary could be called as a quick diary of the thrilling event. The section holds notes on the various thrilling cricketing games along with account of some thrilling bike rides.
Social media connect
The mobile app made sure to target and get 20 MRF Thrill Ambassadors before every game, on social media the brand made sure to make buzz around the games and the app with the masses.
Facebook and Twitter became content distribution hubs along with YouTube. The content shared on social media can be seen under these heads:
Content around the app and Thrill Ambassadors:
Fun content during the game with GIFs:
Content around A-Z of thrill riding:
Content around thrill moment of the game:
In addition to this the social channels had umpteen contests to keep the fans thrilled.
Leveraging Virat Kohli on digital
India lost in the semi finals but Virat Kohli won the man of the series award and he was by far the best player from the Indian side in batting and fielding as well. Post Sachin Tendulkar, Virat has not only replaced the country’s hope but is also the new brand ambassador of MRF.
During the Ride The Thrill campaign, the brand made sure to leverage him in the form of interesting videos. From inviting riders to download the app, Virat was also seen having fun at the thrill circuit. Here is a video of Virat doing a trick shot showing rolling cover drive.The video has fetched more than 60K views on YT and another 100K views on FB.
Objective-driven. Content-rich. Mobile-winning
#RideTheThrill was solely for bikers and driven by bikers around the thrilling WT20 games. The brand took the back seat and allowed bikers to ride the thrill and support the games.
The toughest challenge for any mobile-driven campaign is holding the attention of the user. Getting massive downloads isn’t rocket science, you put media budgets and you can acquire downloads but retaining them is the deciding factor. And to do so, a brand will need to have a convincing reason driven by content.
In #RideTheThrill’s case the objective was set quite clear: the target audience isn’t the masses but the passionate premium bikers who swear by thrill and enjoy the biker life. With the objective set, the next milestone was to hold them or drive them back with content that excites bikers who love T20 games. The 27-day game plan was perfectly crafted to keep bringing in the participants. From creating simple tasks to interesting ones, the levels made sure to hold the player and have him compete on the leaderboard.
Additionally, the gratification of being Thrill Ambassadors and to be able to enjoy the games in a live environment, is one of the special moments for a cricket lover. The agency also shot videos with the ambassadors which were played in the stadium prior to the game. Now that is like a big moment to see yourself in the big screen!
Amplifying content around the campaign on social media has been smartly done with GIFs, visuals and videos. Sandip hasn’t shared any numbers, but the app has been able to bring the participants back time and again. The final results are yet to be announced, meanwhile the brand is sharing videos where MRF Thrill Ambassadors are talking about their most thrilling rides ever.
This is a long-term vision of community building from MRF along with Experience Commerce. With this month-long campaign, the brand has connected with a sizeable number of passionate bikers that drive opinion in their circles. From here on these bikers have become the mouthpieces for the brand. What more do you want when passionate fans own their brands and vouch for them?