Nisha Qureshi

How Zoo Media’s integrated pitch approach helped them secure the ICC WC 2023 mandate

Suveer Bajaj discusses winning the integrated mandate for the ICC WC 2023, the execution of campaigns and Zoo Media’s focus on sports.

The ICC Cricket World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the world and is diligently followed by many countries across the globe. Naturally, it is also one of the biggest advertising/media mandates and the traditional big names in the industry went all guns blazing for its pitch earlier this year.

However, it was Zoo Media, a decade-old media network of seven agency brands, that won the ICC Cricket World Cup mandate.

According to Suveer Bajaj, co-founder, Zoo Media & FoxyMoron, it was their integrated pitch approach that helped them win the monstrous mandate among the old and established names in the competition.

“We always like to go in for integrated pitches at a network level."

He says their experience of working closely with cricket over the past few years helped them win. 

“It was an international pitch and we were competing with all the leading agencies, the basic capabilities and requirements were having experience in sports marketing and a deep-seated understanding of the cultural fabric of India since India was hosting the World Cup this year,” he says.

“We always like to go in for integrated pitches at a network level, which brings about various specialisms, both from our capabilities as well as from an industry standpoint,” adds Bajaj. 

The network currently comprises TCMP, a sports marketing agency, along with XPND, an experiential events agency, Pollen, an influencer marketing agency, and The Rabbit Hole, a content marketing agency, as well as FoxyMoron, which serves as their creative agency.

“This made us a solid competition in this process,” adds Bajaj.

The media house executed all the campaigns for the ICC right from the announcement to the 15-minute performance by the Indian Air Force.

"We noticed that very rarely was there one consistent campaign idea or thought that stayed from the gestation period of the campaign to the end."

Speaking about the execution of the campaigns, Bajaj says that the campaign ‘It takes just one day’ was their translation of the ODI. “From a core campaign creative perspective, we took the opportunity to study the last 20 years of the Cricket World Cup. We noticed that very rarely was there one consistent campaign idea or thought that stayed from the gestation period of the campaign to the end. As opposed to test cricket, ODI’s can decide your fate in just one day. You could be the best team in the world but if the other team is having a great day it takes just that one day for them to establish their greatness. This same idea was followed in everything from the launch to the TVC and the in-ground activations and branding,” he explains.

This campaign was supported by the large media support that the ICC provided. Bajaj adds that along with the ICC, they also had to closely work with the BCCI since they manage all the stadiums in the country. 

Trophy in space campaign

According to Bajaj, one of the biggest successes was the TrophyInSpace campaign that launched the ICC World Cup 2023. For the campaign, they sent the ICC World Cup trophy to space and landed it in the Narendra Modi Stadium in June this year. They teamed up with ‘Sent into Space’-  a provider of commercial Near Space launches to get this executed.

ICC’s brief to us was to be country agnostic. They wanted campaigns that could be mounted globally by the broadcasters.

“Where the idea came from is because we were talking about it being the World Cup being country, language and culture agnostic. The space is exactly that, it represented the world from a broader picture perspective. So it was a very real translation,” says Bajaj.

“The onus was on us to ensure that the execution was top class because otherwise, the risk was that if you goof up something like this, then it could become the biggest meme on the Internet,” he says. 

As per Bajaj, the agency’s focus on sports as a category has only grown over the years. They worked with the BCCI on the Women's Premier League’s (WPL) campaigns, the Hockey World Cup as well as the National Games.

“Cricket is catching up with the likes of NBA which are multi-billion dollar industries with some of the largest campaigns and advertisers around the world. Our team is quite excited and optimistic and quite motivated by the fact that we are getting recognized globally for our work on cricket in India,” states Bajaj.

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