India is a land of cricket mania, where millions dream of playing on a professional field someday. In the meanwhile, though, they make do with what's available - the length and breadth of well, the entire country. They manage to convert every yard of the country into their cricketing field.
At the heart of the campaign is a crowd-sourced film that features over 2,00,000 'moments' or still frames captured from thousands of cricket grounds across India. It features 1,440 young cricketers. And here's what we mean by 'crowd-sourced film': the brand team invited players from all over India to send images of themselves playing cricket. The brand also had over 100 photographers travel around the country to shoot young cricketers in action.
The film is an amalgamation of these single frames. In a sense, the way this film was made takes us back to the very genesis of the modern day motion picture, which is nothing but a series of static frames fused together and revealed in rapid succession. Nike's film captures the most crucial moments in the game of cricket, including the bowler's run up, the throw of the ball and the batsman's race to the crease.
The digital film was created by JWT Bengaluru, produced by 1st December Films, Bengaluru, and directed by Senthil Kumar, national creative director, JWT India. The song creation and sound design is credited to Dhruv Ganekar and Taufiq Qureshi.
The film is an ode to India's young 'gully cricketers', who don't let the reality of lack of adequate playing space stand in the way of their cricketing dreams. First launched on Facebook and Twitter, the digital film has now started appearing on TV. The campaign manifesto reads: 'Yesterday was not good enough. Today is not over yet. Make Every Yard Count.'
According to Avinash Pant, marketing director, Nike India, the video doesn't hard sell any product; rather, it celebrates the joy of "everyday cricket". He explains, "At Nike, we understand that the cricket culture of this nation is not confined to Team India and its players. It includes the millions of young cricketers who strive every day to be amongst the best tomorrow. This film is dedicated to each and every one of those young cricketers who relentlessly chase their dreams."
The campaign is being supported on social media though the hashtag #justdoit. On Twitter, Nike Cricket (@nikecricket https://twitter.com/nikecricket) has more than 10,000 followers and on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/nikecricket), the brand has more than 3 million fans.
Nike has been the official apparel sponsor for the Indian National Cricket Team since December 2005. The brand extended its contract for a period of five years with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), in 2011.
Though not meant to promote a specific product, the campaign, opine experts, does what it is meant to do. It celebrates cricket and has managed to make young cricketers a part of the campaign.
Appreciating the execution and overall treatment of the film, Manoj Shroff, producer, Equinox Films, a production house, says, "I particularly love that raw feeling the director has given it. Nothing about it looks staged. You can actually smell the earth and feel the grime of the places shown."
Does the rapidly changing image montage make for good TV viewing? One might argue the speed at which one still image leads to the next is a bit hard on the human eye. Shroff shrugs, "It is quite normal in today's day and age to say a lot so fast; people are really short on time."
Though the idea of crowd-sourced images has been appreciated, the absence of a definite storyline in the video has drawn flak from some experts. After all, the campaign is almost entirely about the filming style. Showing how youngsters living in remote parts of the country play cricket or showing how cricket transcends religious differences, would have been more engaging, say some experts.
There's a saying about the end justifying the means, referring to which, Rajiv Dingra, CEO, WATConsult, a digital and social media agency, says, "Sending 100 photographers across the country to collect these images is a huge task and the impact of the video doesn't justify that effort. The concept of the video is understood within the first 20 seconds with the rapidly changing images. After a point it becomes predictable. There is no 'wow' factor beyond a point, though the background music does try and keep your excitement up."
Dingra goes on, "Beyond the rapid still shot transition, which makes it look like one video, it does nothing for me emotionally," citing Coca Cola's cricket-based film as an example of an ad that managed to stir him emotionally.