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Marston’s, Official Beer of England Cricket Team

Marston’s, Official Beer of England Cricket Team

Background

Marston’s is a Midlands based brand whose rich heritage has attracted a loyal local following, but has achieved little in terms of driving awareness or distribution outside of its heartland. In 2006 they signed a deal with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to become the official beer of the England Cricket Team. 

The challenge facing Manning Gottlieb OMD was to raise awareness of Marston’s association with English Cricket, thereby expanding on their regional popularity in a relevant and credible way.

The Big Idea

MG OMD’s audience segmentation work revealed five consumer segment groups who showed the greatest propensity to, or already drank Marston’s. Further research showed very low awareness scores for Marston’s overall on a national basis with next to no recognition that they had become the official beer of the England Cricket Team so there was a big job to do.

In terms of the key cricketing insights, MG OMD knew that cricket was a sociable experience, shared with friends and that England fans always give 110% regardless of whether the team is winning or losing and it was important to recognise this. Their task was further complicated by the high regard paid to the strong traditions and heritage of this sport - building a credible association with cricket beyond simply ‘brand badging’ would be essential.

A single brand could not own a sport with a heritage such as cricket so they had to position Marston’s in such a way that didn’t jar with the tradition of the game, but rather sat on a level with the fans allowing the supporters to really connect with the brand. MG OMD’s solution was to appeal to them, from one fan to another, selecting environments where they could demonstrate Marston’s commitment through thick and thin, the lines between sponsor and supporter were suitably blurred. Marstons, ‘The Uncompromising Supporter’ was born.

Making it Happen

If Marston’s were to be recognised as the uncompromising supporter, it was essential that they had a presence at all major cricketing events.  MG OMD targeted all the international cricket events throughout the year from the 2006/2007 Ashes to the Cricket World Cup and the ICC Twenty20 Cup, as well as the summer international tests.

Broadcast sponsorship of the Cricket World Cup and the T20 Cup on Sky provided the ideal platform to take the Marston’s message to a broad cricket loving audience.  MG OMD partnered with the Telegraph, as this title indexed particularly highly with their segmentation groups, where they ran strips in the sports section of the paper, activity on the website and an in ground supplement at the Summer Tests.

Extending their cricket credentials to expert opinion on the sport, MG OMD sponsored Hoggard’s column in the Times and ran insertions in key cricket environments such as the Wisden Cricketer, Cricinfo.com and the Sky Sports website. To amuse their fellow cricket fans, they re branded the popular online cricket game Stick Cricket. MG OMD’s uncompromising presence across all cricketing touchpoints gave Marston’s the standout and credibility befitting of the Official Beer of the England Cricket Team.

Results

With a limited budget, MG OMD achieved significant improvements in both prompted and unprompted awareness. Over a year, unprompted awareness of Marston’s association with cricket went from 0% to 10% whilst prompted awareness rose from 4% to 20%.

There was also an 18% rise in awareness of Marston’s advertising over this period. In addition MG OMD achieved media value from the broadcast sponsorship which was over six times that which they paid.

AJR

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