Channel 4 is launching an integrated campaign aimed at further
heightening expectation for this summer's Ashes Test series. The drive
aims to build on the success of last year's Caribbean Summer marketing
campaign, which surrounded the West Indies cricket tour with a series of
concerts and outdoor events.
The campaign, developed by the brand strategy and communications agency
Michaelides & Bednash, will integrate poster and TV ads with events on
beaches and in parks around the country. The drive aims to draw
attention to Channel 4's modernised coverage of the sport and extend the
appeal of cricket to a new, more youthful, audience.
The campaign will kick off on 18 June, with a series of national press
and 96-sheet poster ads created by Rapier. The ads, on a searing red and
orange background with smouldering edges, are intended to build
excitement and anticipation in the run-up to the first of The Ashes
Tests by focusing on the intense rivalry between the English and
The initial execution uses the words "The Ashes" in burning red type on
this fire-effect background. A second ad puns on the names of the
opposing captains with the copyline: "Hussain at Waugh." A third ad,
running just before the Lords Test, features a picture of the ground
alongside the word "cauldron".
The ads were written by John Townshend and Louise Ruddy and art directed
by Roger Pearce and Tony Snow. Media buying was by OMD.
As the series continues, the press and poster drive will be reinforced
by a TV and cinema campaign using footage from a range of events and
cricketing initiatives around the country.
The Test series will be accompanied by a "Channel 4 Summer Tour"
organised by Alex Poots Artistic Events. The tour kicks off at Brighton
beach between 5-9 July, where an outdoor screen will broadcast live
cricket by day and screen films in the evening. By night, the tour will
feature live music from Fat Boy Slim and Groove Armada.
From Brighton, the tour will call at Bristol, Bradford and London over
the course of the summer. At tour events, children will be encouraged to
take part in a "beach cricket" programme, which will also take place at
several inner-city locations. This initiative, built around a more
easily accessible version of the game, has been produced by the sports
marketing company Activate, in association with the English Cricket
In addition to promotional spots on Channel 4 and short films in
cinemas, photographs of the events will feature on 96-sheet poster
executions and foldout posters running in the national press.
"It is important that the marketing for Test Match cricket is as
innovative and pioneering as our coverage," Channel 4's marketing
manager for sport, Nick Stringer, said. "To that end we have created a
series of initiatives to entertain and engage existing and new cricket
fans and are looking forward to a great summer."