As a kid most of my summer weekends were spent at the cricket ground. My dad played every Saturday and Sunday for a club close to our home in Leicestershire. I was taught to mow an outfield, cut a square and roll a wicket before I left primary school.
My love of cricket has stuck with me and even though I don’t play, I enjoy watching the professional stuff on the tele and often support the local team my husband plays for.
I won’t be offended if you put me in the category of ‘cricket tragic.’ If anything, this article proves it.
This post is an indulgence. It’s the start of the cricket season here in Australia, I wanted an excuse to make my final Write 52 article about cricket and over the years there have been some bloody brilliant cricketing ad campaigns. This is a chance for me to pick out the cricket-based ads that have made me laugh, pause for thought and love the sport even more. I’m not doing a deep-dive critical analysis. I might make the odd comment here and there about the copy, but this is just for pleasure. So join me in the middle and let’s get started.
UK vs Australian brands
The rivalry between the England and Australian cricket teams is brutal at times. Yes, there are always sporting rivalries between nations but this one goes back to 1882 when the oh-so-funny Australian’s had an obituary printed for the death of English cricket.
LOL. Those Aussies. Forever the jokers.
Anyway, fast forward and the rivalry has become so ingrained in the Aussie v England cricket narrative that it often surfaces in advertising with brands in both hemisphere’s taking whatever chance they can to have a dig at the other.
Let’s start with one you might remember from fairly recently.
Marmite v Vegemite
The feud that took place between these during the 2019 Ashes series is nearly as heated as Botham v Chappell. Or Broad v Warner. And it was Marmite who started it.
During the last Ashes Test series, UK-made Marmite handed out free samples of their spread. We can assume it was primarily to Australian supporters, tempting them to take a nibble and admit, once and for all, that Marmite is better than Vegemite.
Vegemite didn’t take kindly to this, so ran the following ad in the UK press.
Win for Vegemite i would say! Advert in the Daily Mirror #Ashes19 #cricket pic.twitter.com/E6jKR1CDUj
— Rehana Watkinson (@Rehune) August 9, 2019
Unfortunately for the Aussie consumable, they discovered Marmite has the sort of British sense of humor that burns. And burns deeps. Their response, which ran in the same paper the following day…
@flintoff11 Hi! Did you spot the battle of the breakfast spreads heat up this week? We’re calling on you to join the #MarmyArmy and keep Vegemite firmly where it belongs – Down-Under. pic.twitter.com/OopH9wb0kl
— Marmite (@marmite) August 10, 2019
No third umpire needed for this one. After a delivery that good, it was clear that Vegemite were out plum.
While we’re on the subject of ball tampering…
And just to even the score (kinda) Fosters beer did a decent little job in the UK of acknowledging the elephant in the room with their Brother-in-Law ad.
And that’s the last I’ll mention of sandpapergate.
Hardys wine: attacking or defending?
Aussie wine brand Hardys, have run some highly-amusing campaigns in the last few years. But they can’t decide if they want to love or hate England cricket.
Back in 2015 they ran a very funny campaign (if you’re an England fan) promoting Hardy’s as an official sponsor of the England cricket team. I remember seeing this campaign in print on the London Underground before seeing the TV spots. Both were very nicely done but here are the TV ads.
Not a bad campaign, that. I mean, what self-respecting England fan wouldn’t enjoy having a chuckle at the Aussie mob looking uncomfortable? But oh, how the tables turned. In Hardy’s 2019 campaign that coincided with The Ashes, they went on the attack and turned mean.
We always enjoy the Hardys wine we buy from Londis.
It’s a shame they have to be rude about our cricket team. pic.twitter.com/XYPgAqvnbw
— David O’Brien (@davidobrien331) February 6, 2019
You can see all three of the print ads, here.
While I was groaning at these, my Australian husband enjoyed a good laugh. I guess they needed to make up lost ground for pissing off their home nation by being official sponsors or England.
A good knock from other Aussie brands
Alright, let’s keep it in the Southern Hemisphere. Here are a couple of ads I’ve really enjoyed from the last couple of seasons here in Australia. The first is from Specsavers.
Putting a cricket-spin on their well-know “should’ve gone to Specsavers” tagline I love this for its relatable club-level feel. The slightly over-weight chappy heading into bat, the spread of food on the tea table and the celebration of the wicket. It’s all very familiar. Then the playfulness of the punchline. Really made me chuckle when I first saw it.
The next is from energy company, Alinta. They booked some of the higher-profile stars from the men’s game to appear in their ads and while it’s safe to say these fellas should stick to their day job, this one made me guffaw. I think because of the absurdity of it, but also watching these players in a match situation, you can see and even feel their dedication to the game. Their determinedness to play and win. So even though it’s completely unrealistic, you can buy into the idea that one of them would have a go at this.
The last Aussie cricket sponsor doing good things with their ads is Commonwealth Bank. Among all the testosterone-fuelled ute and beer ads was this one from Comm Bank.
Which was later-followed up for the World Cup cricket with this one.
My Aussie husband had to give me some context on the tune — apparently, it’s an Aussie classic from the late 70s — and, despite myself, I found I often sang along. Proof that catchy tunes command a lot of power.
Cricket ads from India
Alright, let’s head to the cricket-loving nation of India and a couple of adverts I only discovered as a result of researching this article. And what a pleasure it’s been. A totally different style of advertising to what I’m used to seeing in the UK and my now-home, Australia.
The first delivery comes from Pepsi and an ad that ran in the 90s.
It’s playful, a bit cheeky and I mean, Sachin Tendulkar steals the show at the end. I’m confident in saying his acting skills are above those of the other player-led ads we’ve seen.
Next up, this Cadbury ad, again from the 90s.
I have no idea what’s going on. Perhaps that’s the beauty of it? I mean, I support my husband when he plays. I’ll clap when something goes well. I’m not sure I’ve got it in me to leap onto the oval and start dancing, but then again I’m not scoffing Cadbury chocolate bars on the boundary. I’m clearly doing it wrong.
And that’s stumps
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s play. It’s was fun to put these together. I’d love to add to this, so if there are any cricketing ads — print, TV or other — you enjoy then drop a link in the comments.