SINGAPORE — Most Pakistani cricket fans have a common pain-point: a history of fielding blunders by the national cricket team, often highlighted by the regular flak the team receives for not diving or falling enough to save a run, take a catch, or stop a boundary.
Surf Excel, the country’s leading detergent brand, has set out to change this. In the latest edition of a very busy post-pandemic cricket season (think SuperBowl but for Pakistan), while every other brand scrambled to find share-of-voice in the traditional media landscape, Surf Excel leveled their sights on something completely unconventional: the ground, where the real dirt was.
In a genius sports hack by BBDO Pakistan, Surf Excel introduced a new trophy to the sport in collaboration with The Pakistan Cricket Board: The Champion of Stains, awarded to the player with the most falls or dives during the season. An entire ecosystem was introduced to incorporate this new trophy: a scorecard was built, tracking all the falls, the skids, the slides and the dives each player took while fielding – something that truly proves a player’s grit, but one that before now, was never kept score of.
The activation was announced with a series of films that demonstrated the desire cricketers would have for this trophy, sometimes to an absurd level – an opening film shows Pakistani player Shadab Khan, who despite taking an easy waist-high catch in the slips, launches into an unnecessary dive in order to register a stain. He is followed by Faheem Khan and Mohammed Rizwan, who don’t want to be left behind either. Other films amplify the desire of winning the trophy to even the commentators, with the pitch report being delivered by Bazid Khan rubbing himself against the pitch.
For a fully integrated experience, the cricket scoreboard itself was reconfigured with a new leaderboard component that kept score of all the falls. Cricket shows were hijacked, with older star players laying claim on The Champion of Stains trophy, upset that this would’ve been theirs for the taking, on account of all the heroic falls they’d taken on the field historically.
The Pakistan Super League ended with Shahnawaz Khan being awarded the Champions of Stains trophy, in a completely unexpected acceptance speech delivered lying face-down on the ground.
Butool Rizvi, Marketing Manager, Home Care, Unilever said, “Surf Excel is the champion of tough stains, and as cricket returns in all its glory this year to Pakistan, we saw a befitting role for the brand to encourage inhibition-free performance in the field, without any fear of failure or of stains! This campaign, in collaboration with the National cricket team, is set to achieve just that.”
“By owning every moment a cricket player falls or dives in pursuit of fielding glory, the brand has launched something that goes much further beyond the traditional definition of an ad campaign,” said Ali Rez, Regional ECD for Impact BBDO and BBDO Pakistan. “Congratulations to a brave partner with whom we look to completely redefine media innovation,” he continued.
When asked about the campaign, Hira Mohibullah, ECD at BBDO Pakistan commented, “The communication space around cricketing tournaments is intensely clogged, but we found an ‘unmissable’ hack that thrust our brand into visibility. Now every time a player falls on screen it’s organically called a Champion of Stains moment.”
All this marks only half of the cricketing year in Pakistan, with more integrations to come up ahead, complete with an official ceremony of awarding the trophy to the Champion of Stains in the World Cup, by the real Champion of Stains: Surf Excel!
MARKETING MANAGER HC: Butool Rizvi
ASSISTANT BRAND MANAGER: Affan Khan
AGENCY: BBDO Pakistan
REGIONAL EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Ali Rez
EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Hira Mohibullah
PLANNING DIRECTOR: Daniah Ishtiaq
ASSOCIATE CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Syeda Faryal Ali
SENIOR COPYWRITER: Fatima Ansari
ART DIRECTOR: Sadaf Javed/Hassaan Aftab
DESIGNER: Eemaan Ikhlaq
BUSINESS DIRECTOR: Farooq Khalid Qazi
ACCOUNT DIRECTOR: Asfandyar Khan/Saira Ansari
PR AND MEDIA
PR TEAM: Talking Point
MEDIA MANAGEMENT: MindShare