SunRisers: At the crack of dawn

By Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | December 27, 2012
Conceptualised and executed by JWT Chennai, Phase One of the campaign comprises a brand film titled Chanthem.

New IPL entrant and promoter of the Hyderabad IPL franchise Sun Group has rolled out a campaign to foster engagement around its recently christened team, SunRisers.

The new TVC for SunRisers

The team is so called because it symbolises the birth of a new life and ray of hope. Allegorical, since the events that led to the Sun Group's ownership of the Hyderabad franchise were pretty much riddled in darkness. A few months ago, the Sun TV Network won the auction for the Hyderabad franchise, which earlier belonged to Deccan Chronicle Holdings (DCHL). DCHL, which owned the local team Deccan Chargers, lost the franchise due to its failure to meet its financial commitments.

Now, the recently appointed brand custodian (JWT India) is faced with the challenge of engaging the right audiences through the current campaign, the first phase of which is currently visible. It is noteworthy that the set of fans that supported Deccan Chargers is still around. So, is this communication targeted specifically at these fans?

Bobby Pawar

Senthil Kumar

While speaking to afaqs! a few days back on a related topic, Bobby Pawar, chief creative officer and managing partner, JWT India, had stated, "We have to carry a bit of the Deccan Chargers spirit, build it and shape it for the better. It is not that we are from scratch."

Taking the answer forward in a chat with afaqs! last evening, M L Raghavan, vice-president and general manager, JWT Chennai, says, "SunRisers has nothing to do with (Deccan) Chargers. Having said that, I add -- yes, to a great extent we will be talking to the current fans of the Hyderabad team. We will have to go out and re-establish ourselves in this market. We're trying to put brand SunRisers forward as a new force as far as the IPL is concerned."

The communication has at its core a brand film titled 'Chanthem'. The video starts with shots of players working out and practicing at the crack of dawn, and then moves to the cricket stadium. The picturisation quite literally revolves around the brand name as almost every shot has an image of the rising sun in it. The players appear only as silhouettes all through the film. The words 'Rise up to every challenge' appear as a super on the screen towards the end.

It is learnt that it took four days to ready the film. It was shot during what the team calls the 'morning magic light hours', that is, between 5:00 am and 7:00 am. It was a challenge for the post production team to put the look together using a combination of natural and studio light.

As of now, the soundtrack is an all-music one. The chant has been created by the band Swarathma. Senthil Kumar, national creative director, JWT India calls this music a 'jugalbandi' (healthy blend) between the musical instruments and the din of a cricket crazy crowd in an IPL stadium.

"We may have lyrics as we go ahead; this is just a trailer. Besides, the power of a chant need not always lie in its words," he says, adding that this is just the 'seeding' stage and the objective is to get fans to chant this track in the stadium during SunRisers' matches.

Also designed by JWT, the team logo is an image of a soaring eagle against -- and almost merging into -- the backdrop of a rising sun. Red, orange and yellow hues dominate the art. According to the agency authorities, this image reflects virtues such as valour, chivalry, endurance, independence and fearlessness (the eagle bit), as well as energy and radiance (the sun part).

The latter phases of the campaign will be digital-heavy, in a move to engage fans belonging to SEC A and B. While television will work to generate OTS and hype, going forward, digital will also play a key role in generating engagement with the brand's young, digitally savvy target group.

The online and social media duties for brand SunRisers is with Hungama Digital Services, the digital and promotions marketing division of Hungama Digital Media Entertainment, that was recently acquired by JWT.

The team jersey will be launched closer to the IPL season.

Beaming idea?

As far as the brilliance of this campaign goes, industry experts opt for the middle path; the zone of diffused sunlight, if you will.

Mukund Sharma

Kapil Mishra

While Mukund Sharma, executive creative director, Bates CHI & Partners feels the use of silhouettes sure does justice to the name 'SunRisers', he finds the name itself "odd".

Regarding the execution, he says, "It's nicely shot for sure, but nothing very new. And the all-music format works. You don't have to have dialogues." Nevertheless, he adds about the super, "'Rise to every challenge' is hardly inspiring."

For Kapil Mishra, executive creative director, Law & Kenneth, both, the film, and the visual identity it creates for the brand, work. However, he opines that the brand, that has taken the literal route in this case, may have benefitted by some sort of metaphorical interpretation of the word 'SunRisers'.

"The film introduces you to 'SunRisers' in a very visual way, not in an insightful or metaphorical way. It's like the introduction of a logo. The film works if the purpose is clearly defined as 'Introduce SunRisers to the eyes', not to the mind or soul," he explains.

Regarding the all-music nature of the ad, Mishra adds, "A jingle or a narration of the philosophy would have definitely helped here."

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