South African Test Cricket Series sponsor, Sunfoil, teamed up with specialist agency 34Sport to activate and enhance the Test Cricket experience for fans during the 2012/2013 Sunfoil Test Series in South Africa. By concluding a four-year sponsorship deal as naming rights sponsor of the Test Cricket Series and Domestic Series in South Africa towards the end of 2012, sunflower cooking oil brand, Sunfoil, signaled their intent as a big player in the South African sports industry.
"The sponsorship offered us exceptional exposure in our first year as Test Series sponsor in 2011, and whilst our focus has always been in development and domestic cricket, the mass market awareness has already delivered results,"
explains Shoaib Moosa, Sales and Marketing Director for holding company, Willowton Group. "Our priority for the 2012/13 Test Series is to establish a closer link between our product, and the sport."
The campaign, entitled "NOW WE'RE COOKING!" was strategically developed to create synergy between the Sunfoil brand, food, fans and cricket. 34Sport, experts in connecting brands and fans, was appointed as the activation agency, following a pitch process. Tasked with bringing the proposition of "NOW WE'RE COOKING!" to life in the stadium, the focus turned to the New Year's Test between South Africa and New Zealand at Sahara Park, Newlands."The Cape Town test was a perfect way to kick-off the campaign,"
says Grant Hillary, MD of 34Sport. "Understanding the consumer and the occasion is crucial to any successful campaign. There were some key insights we wanted to incorporate to both enhance the stadium experience for the consumer whilst driving the awareness of the product and brand."
A loyal and knowledgeable cricket fan base, the family summer holiday occasion and the nuances of the longer format of the game, provided key cues for the development of a number of in-stadium touch points. In addition to crowd giveaways of 4&6 cards, sunscreen and peak caps, the Sunfoil Chill Zone was set up on the grass embankment, offering fans a reprieve from the heat. Complete with misters, bean bags and activities for the kids, the designated area was a must-visit for the whole family. The Sunfoil Sizzlers put a fresh spin on the everyday promoter. Dressed in matching aprons, wide-brimmed sunflower hats and giant branded foam hands, these 10 friends created a vibrant atmosphere wherever they went. From an impromptu game of cricket with kids during the lunch break, to rallying support for the Proteas as they turned up the heat on the opposition, the Sizzlers generated significant exposure both in the ground, on social media and via the television broadcast.
Building on the theme of dressing up, fans were encouraged to participate in Sunfoil Saturday - a day of fancy dress fun for the entire family. Fans interpreted the theme of "NOW WE'RE COOKING" into their costumes - winning shopping vouchers to the value of R1000. But Sunfoil didn't just focus on the fans in the stadium. They also turned to the stadium vendors - the users of their product - to ensure that the link to product was seamless throughout the consumer experience. Vendors were offered product trials and were supplied with t-shirts, aprons and branding for their stalls, ensuring a more literal link between the product and the sponsorship."Understanding the importance of engaging the loyal cricket fan and standing out above the clutter of in-stadium branding,"
says Hillary, "is a key factor to getting the most out of your sponsorship."
With that in mind, Sunfoil smartly engaged the cricket enthusiast through the use of social media, big screen animations and in-stadium announcements. Daily cricket trivia appeared on the big screen during intervals or between overs, asking fans to answer and participate on Twitter using #nowwerecooking, with even members of the media and Protea players engaging from the sidelines. The newly established Twitter handle @sunfoilcricket offered the cricket fanatic, both in-stadium and at home, a refreshingly different perspective on the day's play with light-hearted social cricket commentary. By the end of the second test, less than a month from their first tweet, @sunfoilcricket naturally amassed in excess of 1500 followers, generating 16 million "opportunities to see" and at an advert equivalent value of R3,6 million.
From vendor buy-in to the spontaneous awareness generated by the Sunfoil Sizzlers and the use of social media, 34Sport have taken a true all-rounder approach to in-stadium activation, delivering a 5-match Test Series experience worthy of the world's number 1 cricket team.