The longest advert in history?
Before England made it into the semi finals of the Cricket World Cup, only those with Sky Sports could watch the majority of the matches. The groundswell of interest in our progression to the later, deciding rounds, prompted Sky to announce that if England got to the Final, they would make the match available on Free to View TV.
This was an extremely astute move, for several reasons:
1. From a PR perspective, it was brilliant. The opportunity to show their generosity was a good one.
2. From an income perspective, they could charge a premium for any advertising that would be shown, as the audience would be far larger than if coverage was only on the usual paid platform.
3. As an advert for their coverage, with the Ashes coming in a few weeks, it was a superb piece of marketing.
This third point is the most important, and the best example I’ve seen in a long time.
The goal of any marketer is to get their product in front of their target market. To do that, you have to work out where your target market will be at any point, before you can get your message to them.
Any cricket fan was only going to be in one place on Sunday 14th July – watching the World Cup Final.
The free to view coverage became the longest advert in history, probably! With the build-up films, ball by ball coverage and analysis and the expert commentators, it was a great pitch to any fan who was in the market for a subscription. The coverage also included build up towards the Ashes too.
From a cost perspective, the extra broadcast can’t have been that expensive. Channel 4 would have jumped at the chance to have access, and logistically, everything was already in place. Commentary, cameras and all of the related paraphernalia was already arranged.
It helped, of course, that the match itself was so dramatic, and that the eventual outcome was the right one, but I am sure Sky saw an uplift in enquiries after that days coverage. Why am I so sure, without access to their figures? Because we’ve subscribed again!
The whole day was a tremendous advert for Sky who were very shrewd to see, and to take, the opportunity.
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