Ubaid Zargar

Why Adidas chose rap and Raftaar to unite fans and cheer on Team India for ICC Men’s World Cup

The brand’s new campaign dollies in on a billion cricketing enthusiasts hoping for a third World Cup trophy.

In the heart of India, where cricket is not just a sport but an emotion, anticipation is reaching a fever pitch as the ICC World Cup 2023 looms on the horizon. For millions of Indians, this event isn't merely a tournament; it's a testament to their unwavering love for the game, a chance to witness their cricketing heroes script history once more.

As the excitement builds, Adidas, who became the official kit maker of the Indian Cricket Team in May, finds itself in a unique position, shouldering not just the responsibility of outfitting the players but also catering to the profound sentiments of a cricket-crazy nation.

The brand has launched a new campaign in collaboration with BCCI. Titled ‘3 Ka Dream’, the campaign serves an anthem for cricket fans, featuring top- tier cricketers including Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, Shubman Gill, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, and Kuldeep Yadav alongside passionate fans.

A high-tempo rap song slapped on a typical hip-hop beat, sees both the celebrity cricketers and passionate fans immerse themselves in the cricketing fever. The brains behind the melody is the multi-genre record producer Karan Kanchan, who has worked with renowned artists including Divine, Shubh, Pusha T, Vince Staples, Russ, Armani White, Ritviz, Nucleya, Raftaar, MC Altaf, among others.

Sunil Gupta, senior director of Adidas India, acknowledges the magnitude of the Indian cricketing scene, and the pressure it entails. He says, “We understand our responsibility to bring the fans closer to the sport and through our collaborative efforts with the BCCI, we want to leverage our consumer’s biggest passion point in a meaningful way. Therefore, we will continue to craft campaigns that bring out the Indian sentiment in the best way possible.”

Why Adidas chose rap and Raftaar to unite fans and cheer on Team India for ICC Men’s World Cup

The World Cup, in particular, holds a special place in every cricket enthusiast's heart. It's a stage where dreams are realised, where passion meets skill, and where a nation's pride hangs in the balance. With the countdown to ICC World Cup 2023 underway, Indians are not just hoping for victory; they are aiming for a 1983 and 2011 Déjà vu.

With this backdrop in mind, Gupta points out, “3 Ka Dream is one such campaign that channels the raw energy into an anthem, and aims to unify India in its relentless dream for a third World Cup victory. A testament to the country’s unwavering support for team India, 3 Ka Dream gives words to over a billion Indian fans’ dream to see their team win a third ODI World Cup.”

The campaign has also introduced a limited edition jersey, crafted specifically for the World Cup. Donning three tricolour stripes on the shoulders as opposed to plain white, the brand has tweaked the recently revealed ODI jersey for the Indian National Cricket Team. 

Gupta explains, “We will be releasing 2023 jerseys across both male and female categories. The jersey across each category will have a unique number from 1 to 2023 making this a collectible. In the new limited-edition jersey, the three white stripes on the shoulders have been replaced with the Indian tricolour.”

The campaign, which is already live, has a full 360-degree marketing plan behind it to amplify the reach. “The aim is to leverage multiple touchpoints for optimising reach and consumer engagement- including digital, print, and radio. In addition, since the 3 Ka Dream campaign is more than just a brand film, our aim is to amplify the song across key audio platforms such as Spotify, Jio Saavn, and YouTube music so that the anthem can live for times beyond the World Cup as well.”

This year, the World Cup comes right around the festive time of the year. This, for a brand like Adidas, enables brand awareness, and a spike in sales. Gupta points out, “The festive season always witnesses higher spends due to the positive consumer sentiment and with the ODI World Cup and the festive season coinciding this season, this will be one mega festive season, both for brands and consumers. Sporting events have the tendency to bring players, and fans across communities together. For brands, investing in sporting events helps amplify brand visibility considering the high viewership of these events.”

The anthem has been created by Creativeland Asia Network. The agency’s founder and chairman, Sajan Raj Kurup, expounds on the brief given by the brand for the campaign, and how the agency took it forward. He says, “The brand brief at the pitch stage was to build a campaign that iconifies the Adidas jersey as the ultimate pride and rallying cry of Indian cricket at the World Cup stage set to the undertone of Adidas’ iconic slogan – ‘Impossible in Nothing’.”

Why Adidas chose rap and Raftaar to unite fans and cheer on Team India for ICC Men’s World Cup

The challenge, as per Kurup, was to help the brand travel with it as far and wide as cricket does in our country. “The ‘3 ka Dream’ campaign is born at the serendipitous intersection of the three Adidas stripes and India’s dream for the third World Cup. The campaign as a result is written and conceptualised to instil pride in wearing the India jersey as the best way to show our support for the team and unite fans behind one common dream.”

Notably, a lot of the cricketing or sporting commercials delve into the realm of rap music. As such, creative agencies often avoid being repetitive or unoriginal. But how was this song penned? Kurup answers, “As the world celebrates 50 years of hip-hop this year, there couldn’t have been a better genre of music to bring to life the emotion, desire and on-the-street sentiment of 1.4 billion Indians. The song was written and recorded right at the pitch stage by team CLA at our in-house RollingStone studio. And, then finally produced with the best names in India’s hip-hop scene.”

With the World Cup knocking on the door, we wondered if the campaign provoked a sense of executive pressure for the agency. Kurup says that the process for fairly smooth. “No pressure at all. The process of conceptualising and crafting this campaign was pure joy. Working around player schedules and limited access is always a part of the challenge but I saw the players and the cast at large enjoy filming for this anthem as much as we did.”

The creative team shot over 8 hours of footage over 5 days, and shortlisted the rapper Raftaar out of 6 other contenders. “We did seven edit drafts before getting just the right mix of emotions and eleven studio sessions before finding the sound mix. In the end, the only challenge we faced was that of plenty.”

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